Changing My Context

I’m currently working with a Life Coach and it has been an amazing experience so far. My homework- due tomorrow is to come up with potential contexts in which to live my life that are different from the context that I currently live my life in. 

What is context you might ask? According to the Merriam-Webster: The circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed. Another way of looking at this might  be the lens through which you look at and live through life. 

What is my context at the moment? One that I have lived in for many years. It is comfortable and cozy but is keeping me from achieving my goals. This is what mine looks like. Default: I blame myself for what goes wrong in my life. When that gets to be too much- I shift blame where appropriate to other individuals/circumstance in my life. If that cannot be done, I shift blame to the universe and blame my failure to achieve my goals on a lack of time. The problem with this context is that it is cyclical and makes it impossible for me to move forward. It also means that someone loses, because someone always has to lose in this context. 

Having lived in this context for so long, I’m not sure what it might be like to live and look at the world in a different way. I’m struggling right now to come up with what that might look like. Right now it is so automatic to blame myself. So easy. But this leads to me feeling defeated, like a failure and ultimately becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It goes a bit like this: I should have done X, feel bad about not doing X, decide I’m a failure because I didn’t do X which ultimately leads to me not trying as hard due to fear of failure. What really ends up happening is do not achieve goals that I really want to achieve. I’d like to call this context me vs self/other/universe. 

You might be thinking- well why don’t you just go out and do what you are supposed to do? Good question. It comes back to the cycle. 

Whatever context I choose, I think the following need to be requirements:

1) I need to see myself as successful in whatever context I choose

– In my current context, I feel like nothing I do is ever good enough. Maybe I’m not doing my best right now because I’m scared that I will fail and shifting the blame on lack of time allows me to lower my standards. This causes a ripple affect in my life where because my standards for myself are lower I end up having lower standard for my students and other people in my life. This is not good. 

2) Context is one in which everyone succeeds.

Potential Contexts

1)Tried curiosity– but could not wrap my head around how everyone can win in this context

2) Action What this would mean to me is living life through doing actions to complete goals… Which now that I write it down sounds really boring and chore like. I’m scared that this context is not different enough from what I am currently doing. 

3) Presence/ Present “Being conscious or being aware is the only way to know the present.” – From Wikipedia entry on Present (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Present)

– Part of the problem with my current context is that it relies mainly on past experience and future worry. This is crippling. Perhaps approaching each situation in my life as though I were living it for the first time would be more empowering. This one scares me a little, only because I actually have no idea what that looks like. But an increased consciousness or mindfulness of what I am doing at the time rather than looking back with regret would perhaps be more empowering. 

4) Possibility

Perhaps 3 and 4 could be combined. I feel that possibility on its own could go either way- as in that it could indicate negative possibility. What I mean by possibility is living in a context in which anything is possible, combined with presence and conscious, mindful thoughts. Still not sure what this entirely looks like since I have been living in a fairly negative context, especially as of late. 

However, I cannot wait to find out… 

 

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Depression 

Depression

Allie Brosh talks about depression. I though this was fitting considering this is mental health awareness week.

So I’m not crazy… 

So I’m not crazy…

Seeing as it is mental health awareness week, I thought I might share about my father. My father suffers from Bipolar Affective Disorder. At first I was going to write that he is Bipolar. But that implies that my father is his mental illness and he is more than that. He is a loving, caring, sensitive man that happens to suffer from a terrible illness. 

Over the past few years my father has been in and out of hospital in a what seems to be vain attempt to get his medications and life under control. He managed his illness so well for many years and BAM- suddenly he can’t take lithium and we are back at square one. 

Last year, my father spent eight long months in the hospital and they discharged him and he was still depressed. As his family, this was frustrating as we could see that he was not okay and we felt as though he was just being discharged because they needed the space for someone else. “Look how well he is doing,” They’d say, and I’m thinking, “Seriously?” 

Cue the next eight months of rapid cycling moods and times where we are not even sure medications are still working anymore. We call the ambulance one night because he is staggering around on his meds. Hospital discharges him the next day. “There nothing wrong with him. ” Apparently they’ve seen worse. So have I, but that doesn’t mean he is ok. 

Incident after incident, we increasingly feel as though we are the crazy ones- after all doctors know best. 

Now he is back in the hospital. We didn’t put him there this time. Not that anyone would have believed us when we said that things were not ok. We basically had to wait until things got bad enough that he was picked up by the cops for driving on the wrong side of the road. He almost has to die for him to get the help he needs from doctors. 

There is something very wrong with this system. I’m not sure how you fix it, but I agree with this article. The transition from being institutionalized to home living sucks. There are very few supports to help families access the support they need from different places. It is sad and it is the mentally ill that pay the price. 

End rant, but the article sums up my sentiments nicely. 

Hi, My name is Lisa and I am a sugar addict

I was thinking about this today as I went through my day with no mood swings, no cravings, no insatiable need to run out an buy cupcakes. This statement might sound over-dramatic but since I’ve pretty much gone cold turkey on refined sugar, I cannot believe the change. In some ways it is very similar to quitting smoking, although I can’t live without at least some natural sugar and it is very possible to live without smoking. But the cravings and binges on sugar were not unlike what a smoker goes through with smoking cigarettes. It turned into a vicious cycle of eat something sweet, get a sugar high, crash and repeat. Sugar is definitely my drug of choice. So easily obtainable, easily consumed at work, in the car or pretty much everywhere. Society markets sugar products like nothing else and there is little social stigma to being a user since we consume sugar to some degree. 

It feels liberating to look at sugar the way I have been lately. However, I do worry about when I have been following this diet for awhile what might happen. But for now, I’m happy avoiding sugar. I might be jealous of those people who have control over their ability to eat sweets, but I will never look down on them. I pledge to never become self-righteous about the way I eat. Everyone needs to do what works for them. This happens to be working for me so I am happy!

There may be something to thing…

This diet just might be sustainable. I was skeptical. However, I’ve felt very satisfied all day. Went for a run today as well which felt good. Hopefully I can keep this up. I usually start strong and then fizzle out. Each time I feel as though things might be different, I fall back into my old ways. It is easier to stay in our comfort zone. Easier to cook and be the same way that I have been before. Easy to live automatically. 

I hope to change that this time… 30 is going to be awesome. I can feel it. 

Day 1 of Paleo Diet

So I just finished my first day eating mostly Paleo. What does that mean? I ate mostly fruits, vegetables, nuts, meat and other protein. All of my carbohydrates came in the form of fruit. I didn’t go full Paleo today. I did have a couple of slices of cheese at lunch. All and all- I feel good. Not hungry at all, unlike what I would feel like on Jenny Craig. Not sure if I’m getting the calorie deficit I need to lose weight yet, however I feel great.

Here is to keeping this up!

Getting Back to Blogging

I feel like this blog never got started. Perhaps I never got started. Perhaps this was because I didn’t have clearly outlined goals for my future. I do now and I plan to do everything in my power to achieve those goals. 

Right now here are my goals: Lose 16 pounds by June 30, 2013. 

                                               Run a marathon by April 13, 2014

                                               Get a job in Edmonton for next school year. 

Here I will post reflections on my progress towards those goals. I will do this at least once a week. 

I feel inspired and energized. Perhaps it is the run. Perhaps it is clarifying the steps I need to take to achieve my goal. Whatever it is, I plan to tap into it to help me achieve my goals.  

Adventures in Fermentation- A success!

I wanted to document the whole experience, but I didn’t really have time for that. Below is a picture of the finished product! It tastes pretty good, although I think I will try using a little less salt next time. As was mentioned on the Wild Fermentation website, I did get the “bloom” of surface mold after about 3 weeks. It was very easy to skim off the surface as it sticks to itself really well. Although you might feel tempted to through something that molds away, what is underneath is perfectly good, fermented cabbage. So delicious… Next time I’m going to be more creative with what I add to the my fermentation pot. I am going to try adding garlic and onions to the mix to see how that changes the flavour.

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Adventures in Fermentation

Today, I started a batch of sauerkraut. It was quite simple. I followed the recipe from Wild Fermentation. True sauerkraut fermenting pots can be over a hundred dollars, so I picked the ceramic crock pictured below for $30 dollars. I found a plastic Tupperware to fit inside and I am using the plastic bag full of water method of weighing the cabbage down.

Here are the steps I followed:
1) Chop about 5 pounds of cabbage sprinkling with about 3 tbsp of salt as you go.

2) Stuff crock full of cabbage leaving a little room to pick your weight on. Tamp it down using your fists or a potato masher works well

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3) Put plate or lid over cabbage.

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4) Put a large ziplock bag full of water on top of the lid to weigh it down.

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5) Put lid on and wait. (Well it is almost that easy)

For the first 12 hours I have to check often to make sure the brine covers the kraut.

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I will update you on this as it progresses.

My journey to a healthier me

I wanted to start this blog a long time ago, but I always put it off. For some time my weight had been creeping up and by this summer I knew I had to do something about it. I was at my highest weight ever- 172 pounds. Ten of those pounds I had gained in the last 6 months.

So this summer, I hired my friend Michelle to be my personal trainer. She was awesome. She found my weaknesses and trained the heck out me. But I didn’t change my diet, so I didn’t drop any weight. It was very discouraging.

I also was training for a 10 k and running was so much harder than it ever had been before. I managed to get the same time as in the past, but with a lot more effort. Not to mention, while running did not hurt my knees, hiking up mountains now did. Something had to be done.

I returned home discouraged, and back at home I actually gained a couple more pounds. My mom and I decided to do something about it. So we have been eating less and moving more (most of the time) since the end of September. So far I have lost 12 pounds, and I am 8 pounds away from my goal weight of 150 pounds. The main thing I have learned in the past month is portion control and mindful eating.

I plan to use this blog to write about things that interest me in regards to healthy living.

I want to start running again, but my body is rebelling. I’ve been reading about the ChiRunning method which sounds like it could be an answer to much of the soreness that I have been feeling. More on that later.

Tomorrow, I am going to try my hand at making my own sauerkraut. That is probably what I will be writing about for the next little while. Until next time, keep healthy!