Monday, December 26, 2011

Sugar Addict

Hi, my name is Teniah, and I am addicted to sugar.

In all seriousness, I believe that sugar is actually highly addictive due to the pleasure pathways in the brain that it triggers, and should be treated as such. About a year ago I started doing a little baking here and there and re-introducing sugar into my life. Gradually it went from the occasional indulgence of chocolate during exams to eating chocolate every time I would get stressed (which is a lot of chocolate! haha). We never used to keep goodies in the house before...

While I would say I still only eat sweets occasionally and hardly ever buy ice cream or goodies for the house, over the past few months that has been changing. (No help from all my Christmas baking!) I began baking when we moved out to Masterton and I actually had time to bake. I have really enjoyed making goodies to have in the evenings and fresh bread and other indulgences. The trouble is, that instead of it being an occasional thing, it has become a regular nighttime habit now - a cuppa tea and rhubarb bread or a cookie...and so the pattern starts.

This is definitely not the path I want to take. I do not want to be addicted to sugar and crave sweets and foods that make me feel lousy and irritable. I do not want to develop diabetes (which runs in my family) or put on excess weight. On top of that, all of my running training is a bit pointless if I am fueling my body with all the wrong things. - Which I have noticed that some days I just don't have the energy I need for a long run...likely due to the sugar eaten that day.

So, I have made a decision to fight my addiction and give up sugar cold-turkey. (Obviously not forever) I believe that you can have a treat every now and then, but for the next month I am giving up sugar to re-set my system and head into the new year feeling good. I want to detox my body and just be really healthy again. I would say that this is a New Year's Resolution, but in reality, it's more that I am just ready to make a commitment to overhauling my current intake of sugar and changing how I view the food that fuel's my body.

Mantra: "Change starts right where you are at today." ~ Namaste

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Making Choices

It can often be said when people are faced with difficult choices to make in their lives that you should "follow your heart" and that your heart will lead you down the path that is right for you...

Is that true? Does the heart always lead you to happiness?

I would step out on a limb and say that "no", the heart does not always lead you to happiness right away...When you follow your heart and trust that it is leading you down the right path, you may find in actual fact, that it has lead you to sorrow and pain. I believe eventually that pain turns to joy and in the end your heart will truly have lead you to happiness (it's just a long time coming in some situations).

Life can be so confusing like that...Needing to make a choice around where your future will take you, or who you will enter a relationship with, or when the right time is for those relationships...It's hard to say if the choices that you make will lead to pain or joy. Isn't that life, though?

I guess what I am most thinking about today is the truth in that statement to "follow your heart"...Does the heart lead you down the right path, or can the heart deceive you? And in the end, will you come out at the same place?

In my own life, my heart has always lead me straight. It may have required that I go through pain along the way, but it ended in happiness. I believe that I can trust my heart, I just need to have the courage to do it.

Mantra: "Follow your heart wherever it leads you, for even if the path brings pain, that pain will reveal joy in the end." ~ Namaste

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Enjoying Life in the Country

One of the best parts about living in the country is that on a beautiful evening you can go across the road and walk up the hill and look out over the Wairarapa region...
It's just lovely here. Lots of rolling hills, lots of green land and happy sheep and cows grazing...
If you look closely on the right you can see the property where we are renting at the moment...
With all this lovely area, however, comes a new disappointing twist - Allergies! - I am suffering terribly at the moment with all the thistle and stuff floating around in the air. It's a real shame because it definitely takes away from the beauty of the moment. I am trying various remedies, but so far, pretty much unsuccessful. This has definitely put a damper on my motivation to run/train at the moment. I am still doing it, but it's a hard sacrifice as it usually leaves me sneezing the rest of the afternoon. Shame...I am soon hoping to fine a good treatment option.

On the up-side of things, as soon as we leave the area it seems to clear up quite quickly, so tramping is a great relief. I have really been enjoying all of our weekend tramps. I will have heaps of time for my training as it gets closer to the race, so I'm not too worried about that, but hope to just keep a moderate running routine so I can get stronger and stronger during the summer.

Overall I have had an amazing summer so far which has proven to rejuvenate me and I am already feeling more prepared to cope with the challenges of next year. Just trying to really set up some good routines now while I have the time. Remembering that it takes about 40 days to really establish a true habit.

Mantra: "Today is the first day of the rest of your life - let today be the day you make positive change." ~ Namaste

Monday, November 28, 2011

Around our house there are lots of Pukeku. These two in particular appear to be contemplating building a nest in front of our house. Every night we watch them around the same time come over and peck around in the grassy mound out front. They are seriously odd looking birds, but so pretty in their own right.

Watching these birds reminds me how beautiful uniqueness is. The world would be such a boring place if everyone looked/acted the same, and if all the animals were exactly alike. When you come across an interesting animal with a unique look or personality, it reminds you that the world is so diverse and fascinating.

I think many people struggle with embracing their uniqueness. Our society pushes the idea of conformity - wearing the same styles, the same make up, the same hair color/style, being the same size etc...Those that are different often stand apart as "weird" or "odd" and are often times avoided. What's up with that? Why is it that we encourage conformity? Why are we, as a society, so insecure in our own form? What does it take to become confident in your own unique attributes and characteristics? These are just some musings...

As I get older I am becoming more and more happy with who I am and okay with the fact that I will never "conform" to the ideal "in" group. I will never be skinny, or tan, or stylish in the way that society dictates that beauty should be...But, I will be exactly who I am. I am learning more and more every day that I want to be me. I don't want to conform, I don't want to try and be something that I am not. I am happy to stand aside and be the Pukeku who just is what it is....

Mantra: "Inside each of us is a unique individual waiting to shine: Be exactly who you are" ~ Namaste

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


It's not always easy to find solitude and refreshment in our busy world, however, if you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a moment and walk among the trees, listening to the birds singing, you can truly get a tiny taste of what serenity actually is.

About a week ago, Travis and I moved to Masterton. We are renting an amazing little house about 10k out of town in the country. It has proven to provide me with much relaxation and recuperation - exactly what I needed.

There is something therapeutic about living in the country, listening to the bees hum and the birds sing. Watching the gentle rain nourish the green grass. It is so energizing to be surrounded by fresh green and cool air. I honestly cannot describe it.

So, yes, I am feeling much more encouraged and uplifted and getting ready for summer holidays. I sat my first exam yesterday and have two more to come. Then, it's holiday time!!! I have been very blessed to have landed a casual job with a new mental health service provider in Masterton, so I am looking forward to working with their team in the near future. However, most of the summer I am planning to just enjoy being home.

I got some art supplies this week and have started a new painting and I have also really been enjoying cooking a lot and using all my lovely fresh herbs. It is a different way of life out here, and one that I am happily getting used to!

The picture above was taken from my porch this morning as I had my coffee - can't get much better than this!!

Mantra: "Let the beauty of the moment nourish your soul" ~ Namaste

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Still, Quiet, Peace

We spent the night near Castle Point to just have a little getaway from the world and to relax and recover from all we have had going on...

This was the perfect setting to just really embrace the beauty of the moment and to let the calm of the ocean just melt away any residual stress or anxiety.

At night the sky was clear and the stars were so incredibly bright - we could even see the milky way!

I am really enjoying getting back into my yoga, swimming, and running. This has allowed me a good opportunity for stress relief and to just reflect on what I want to gain from my life. My stress level has decreased tremendously of late, and I just feel so much healthier and more relaxed.

My goal at the moment is to just really embrace each day and find some joy and time to rest. I am making it a point to do something that I love every day and to make time for myself. I am also planning to really get back into my running over the summer holidays and perhaps even run a few races next year.

Mantra: "Today is your opportunity to embrace life and find joy in the present moment; don't put it off until tomorrow" ~ Namaste

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Finding Joy in the Journey

Recognizing that it is not enough to just enjoy the end result and the final destination....One must find pleasure in the journey along the way...I am seeking to do just that: Find Joy in the Journey

Sometimes I get caught up in looking at the end result and viewing each day as merely a step closer to that goal. Sometimes I say to myself, "well, when this semester is over....when this year is finished...when I finish this...." etc....I sometimes get so focused on what I need to accomplish and what my life will be like AFTER that goal has been met, that I forget to enjoy the journey along the way.

My first week of placements was awesome. I am really enjoying working with the team of nurses out in Horowhenua and the work they are doing in the community is really inspiring. It's been a great opportunity to be refreshed and encouraged to continue on....

I am feeling much more enthusiastic about my studies and feel like I have a bit of renewed passion working with this team...Also, I got my results back from my pharmacology mid-term and I had done really well with that so it encouraged me that all of the hard work I put in does occasionally pay off! This was definitely what I needed to help keep me focused and dedicated to this semester.

Overall, the week has been really good and I am feeling much more centered. I have been swimming a few times and gradually getting back into my yoga again so that has also helped.

Mantra: "Take time to find joy in this present moment - not waiting for what will bring you joy in the future" ~ Namaste

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Overcoming Burnout

We all know and recognize that life is a journey - full of experiences and lessons that we learn from every day. And, yes, we all know that part of that journey includes surviving the deep, dark valleys and making it through to stand on top of the mountains.

So, my current goal...Make it to the top of the next mountain!!

How will I get there?...Survive the deep, dark valley...

I am recovering, at the moment, from the flu. Unfortunately, my immune system apparently got tired of fighting for me and gave in. On the bright side, it forced me to take two days off work - which gave me my first break in ages!! (Not exactly the kind of break I wanted, though...)

This has proven the point that if you don't take care of yourself and you don't find ways to relieve your stress, it will indeed control you.

The process of studying and working has proven to be a major challenge for me in regards to finding balance in my life. I have, very obviously, not mastered this challenge yet! haha. I guess that just goes to show that I am human, just like the next person, and I still have struggles and challenges that I need to faithfully work towards overcoming.

So, I am going to make some very specific changes to my daily schedule with the attempt to get back on track and not let the stress of school/work push me to the edge of burnout. Looking ahead to next year I realize that, in actual fact, my schedule will not let up. While next year may be a bit more fun, the course planned for us is unrelenting and there are very few breaks on the schedule. So...I must find a way to overcome and find peace and enjoyment every day.

Some changes that I want to make for myself:
Daily yoga/meditation, Listen to music, Use some daily affirmations, Take more breaks and only study a subject for two hours at a time, Schedule "time out" every single day!, Devote time to exercise at least three days a week, Get regular back massages, Avoid obsessing over grades.

Now, obviously saying these things doesn't actually accomplish them...So, I am hoping that good friends, like you, will help to hold me accountable to these commitments.

It's really about living life to the fullest and finding peace in the midst of chaos...

Mantra: "Don't just verbally commit yourself, but back-up your words with actions - Allow for peace in this present moment." ~ Namaste

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I am new to Maori culture as I have only lived in New Zealand for two years, but one thing I have been learning about a lot in my nursing studies are the various Maori health models that are used to promote wellness within the whole person.

Last year I fell in love with the model of Te Whare Tapa Wha which was the concept of a house and each wall of the house represents a various dimension of a person's life which will inevitably impact on their health. In order to have complete health/wellbeing there must be balance between these parts (mental/physical/spiritual/family). I have seen in my own life how true this is. When one area gets out of balance your health starts to be impacted.

Anyway, this semester I am focusing on the Te Wheke model which is the concept of an octopus and each of the tentacles and suckers represent something in a person's life which contributes to health. Again, if any of these areas are not strengthened it will impact negatively on the overall wellness.

The concept of Whatumanawa - The open and healthy expression of emotion/understanding emotional development is the area I have been looking at specifically over the past day or so.

I experienced this myself in the past week or so and can directly relate it to this model....Let me explain....I was always raised to be a very positive person and my family's beliefs were around the idea that you never expressed negativity. If you were feeling sad or upset about something then you buried that pain and put a smile on and pretended that everything was okay....I always disagreed with this idea and believed that as humans we all feel (ALL emotions) everyone is living life and therefore we will all go through various times when things are going great, and times when life just kicks us around. I believe it is healthy to express these feelings and acknowledge that you are human.

Having said this, however, does not mean that everyone will know how to deal with your expression of emotion.....I have been under a lot of stress in the past few weeks (not only with school and work, but one of my clients is also at the end stages of cancer so it's been hard watching him in the last days of his life as he is suffering.) This has been wearing on me and, while still remaining positive and looking at the good things that are happening in life as well, I have expressed some of those emotions of exhaustion and stress. Some of my friends have been really supportive and encouraging and have been completely accepting of the fact that I don't always have to be 100% happy in every moment. At the same time, others have immediately shut me down and made comments which reflect that they believe it is entirely inappropriate for me to express anything other than cheerfulness/happiness.....This got me thinking.....What is that all about?

How do I respond when people express their emotions to me? Do I allow them to express their anger; their pain? Do I allow them to share their feelings or do I shut them down immediately by trying to cheer them up? me thinking...

In most cases your willingness to be vulnerable and express your true feelings is accepted in a safe and supportive environment. (Within your family and close friends). However, on occasion people will become uncomfortable with the idea that you are expressing negative feelings. Those people often verbally "call you out" and try to shut you down. They may say something along the lines of, "Get over yourself", "Get a grip", "Move on", "Cheer Up".....It would seem to me that when such comments are made it is a result of that person being insecure in how to deal with your expression of emotion. This is not your problem, but rather theirs.

I believe that holistically in order to experience wellness you must be able to embrace the Whatumanawa. You must be able to express your feelings and emotions in a safe and supportive environment where you are not judged.

Consider offering that support to someone around you today...When someone tells you they are angry or upset, or depressed, or sad....just listen and allow them the opportunity to express those emotions without judgement. In so doing you will actually be supporting their wellness rather than sending the message that it is not okay to share those feelings.

This has been an interesting observation of mine this week and I love how applicable this health model is to my life. School is going good so far - It's an extremely full on semester, but I think it will be really good - I got my placements for clinicals which will be at a Primary Health Organisation in Horowhenua (no idea what that will be like, but I'm up for anything). All else is going well, and I leave you with the thought today that life is beautiful and what makes it beautiful is that even when their are rains and storms, with that usually comes a rainbow!

Mantra: "Allow yourself to be true to who you are every day - express your true feelings and allow that expression to bring wellness to your life."

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Life on the Mend

Well, I finally finished my semester and what a relief it is to be done! Second year nursing is no joke. They claim that if you survive it then you will be home free from there on out as this year is, by far, the hardest. This puts me halfway through the program so I am stoked about that.

We are in the middle of our winter break here in NZ, so this is allowing me a moment to recover what remains of my sanity and attempt to get my life back together! I have thoroughly enjoyed having the week to organize things and get everything sorted out.

As it is the first of July I have decided this is the most appropriate day to start another yoga streak and attempt to get back my dedication to the practice. I have organized how I will incorporate exercise into my daily schedule and have been going to a few gym classes of late. My desire is to maintain some form of commitment next semester even when things start to fall a part. I kind of let it all go towards the end of the past semester and I really don't want to do that again. It's just not a healthy response to give up your exercise and moments of relaxation - those are the things that should be foundational for getting you through stressful times!

So, this is me attempting to get my life back together and attempting to forget about all that I did not accomplish and all that I "let go" and instead focus on what I will do in the future and where I am at in this moment.

Mantra: "I allow myself to forget about what was before, and focus on the here and now." ~ Namaste

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The life of a student

To say that my life is consumed with books, reading, lectures, training, essays, research, case studies and more is really an understatement. I thought I would simply post a blog to let you all know that life is very real for me right now as are all the struggles that we on a daily basis. The struggle to get out of the warm bed in the cold, early, winter mornings...the struggle to decline that second, third, fourth, fifth cup of coffee to get through the day....the struggle to somehow manage the energy to make a healthy dinner and spend time with your family....the struggle not to judge yourself too harshly when there just wasn't enough time in the day to fit in a good workout (or when there is, but you opt to rest on the couch instead).....yep, the list goes on

So, yes, I have felt the pressures of late....I started a second job while on my clinical placements and in the midst of both jobs and clinicals I also have been completing my St. John training for the volunteer side of my life. It's been a bit of a whirl-wind really. It's all been great, and I am really blessed with the opportunities that have arisen in the past month or so.....But with great opportunities come some sacrifice....

I confess that I haven't run in several weeks now. I have gone to a few classes at the gym but they have been dreadfully sporadic. My yoga practice has also dwindled to a few times a week.....On the up side I have maintained a really healthy diet and even lost a few lbs in the process.

So, my real point in checking in on here is to say that I am every bit as human as the next person and I sometimes let life get in the way of all the positive things I try to achieve in my daily routine......My commitment is to get back on the wagon and get things rolling again in a proper and faithful routine before I start into second semester. I am determined not to let uni control my life! haha......
Mantra: "I will not let life control me, but will accept the challenge of each moment with grace knowing that each moment I have the ability to cope and find peace." ~ Namaste

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Faithfulness Comes in Many Forms

Week five of my challenge was a mixture of things, really. I consider this mixture to merely be a reflection of how faithfulness can come in many forms. While you may not follow your "plan" exactly, you can still be faithful to the end result through staying mindful of your goals.

This is how my week went. It was the first week of placements for me. The challenge of early morning starts and then going to work for a few hours after placements meant that I did not have the time to devote to my running that I expected. However, I still managed a good week with two days at the gym, three long yoga practices as well as my daily yoga routine, and a really nice long hike as well.
This spot on our tramp was so peaceful and we rested here for a few minutes to just take a moment out to reflect on the rejuvenating power of mother earth.

This week many across the world celebrated Earth Day and remembered the need to be mindful of how we are treating our planet. For me, this is important because I find so much rest and calm when I am out in nature. When I go for long tramps with Travis I find that the energy I gain from walking through the rain forest environment is just so rejuvenating to me and I am able to start my week off with a renewed since of energy. We must protect that and support those working in conservation. In New Zealand it is mostly due to the Department of Conservation (DOC) that we even have these track available to us. So, in honor of Earth Day, I just have to say thank you to those working and supporting DOC in New Zealand. Also a special thanks to each and every person who recycles, cares for the earth, and is mindful of how what you do every day impacts our planet.

So, this week has been a reminder to me of what commitment and faithfulness truly is and how sometimes the way we accomplish this may change, but the motivation and outcome remain the same. While I may not have met my specific targets for how many days a week I would run this week, I still stayed faithful to my intention of eating healthy and maintaining a balance of exercise throughout the week.

Mantra: "Let your faithfulness guide you towards the goals you have established for yourself in this present moment." ~ Namaste

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Week Four

This week I have been really faithful to eating healthy and exercising. My exercising did not include the full amount of running and ab work that I planned, but instead involved a lot of cross training. In my opinion, it still counts - especially when most of that involved distance walks - I did, incorporate two long and intense yoga sessions this week along with my normal daily yoga practice. Overall, I consider this week to be a great success.
Catching the sunrise in Napier was the highlight of my week. There is something about a sunrise that rejuvenates the soul reminding you that it's a fresh day.

This week I fit in some good shifts with the St. John ambulance and definitely enjoyed that. While 13 hour night shifts definitely tire you out for the following day, it is well worth the sacrifice for the experience gained. I am looking forward to more of this, as my official recruitment day is the 30th of April.

Travis and I did a lovely tramp around Cape Kidnappers yesterday and I think that is just what I needed before beginning my first week of placements tomorrow. My goal this week is to maintain my exercise routine even in the midst of the challenging schedule ahead of me. I am also committing to taking my lunch every day and packing a healthy snack so that I am not tempted to eat unhealthy things. The goal this week, I think is to keep the stress levels down and to just focus on one task at a time.
Mantra: "I allow myself to embrace the calm of this moment while acknowledging the challenge as it passes by." ~ Namaste

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Week Three

Sometimes life just sets you back a pace or two in order to prepare you for what is ahead. This is how I feel about week three...

I had a very busy but incredible week this week and it sort of got in the way of my good intentions for running. I still got some great exercise in this week and still kept up with my yoga, but not to the extent that I had hoped for.

Part of what held me back this week is that I got my flu shot, which the first day made me pretty tired. After that I worked a 12 hour night shift with the St. John ambulance and that definitely drained me of my energy for the following day. Last night I did a 13 hour shift as well so yeah, I pretty much just needed a recovery day today. I have been overly gracious to myself this week and let myself have a break, and while that probably isn't great, I know that it is necessary in order to keep my immune system strong in preparation for my clinical placements.

So, that was my third week of my "Challenge"....

On the bright side, I found the most fabulous curry recipe - EVER - and made a beautiful vegetarian curry tonight for dinner. I have to share the link for the recipe here because it is seriously the best curry I have ever made or tasted! The last time I made a pumpkin curry I was quite disappointed in it and it was too thick and just not that special....This one was absolutely a beautiful combination of a whole bunch of ingredients and it truly was lovely! I will be enjoying this all week....

Thai Pumpkin Curry

My mantra this week: "Don't be discouraged by all that was undone, but be encouraged by all that you will still accomplish in the coming days." ~ Namaste

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Week Two - Reflections

Week two of my challenge for extra running and monitored eating, was not such a great one to be honest. I was pretty overwhelmed with the amount of work I needed to do for my assignments as well as additional hours I was putting in at the bakery. So, overall this week was a bit of a dud, really.

Having said that, I did a lot of reflecting and really came again to the place of acceptance and grace in this moment and realized that every week doesn't have to be perfect and doesn't have to live up to the expectations that we have for it. We are who we are in each moment, regardless of whether we accomplished that which we desired to do.

So, this week was about finding ways to maintain balance and wellness when I was struggling. I am happy that I have come to a place where I can recognize within myself when I am struggling and stressed and when I just need to take a step back and allow myself to recover. So, on the days when I was struggling for energy and to cope, I did some extra yoga and chose that over the more strenuous running.

My goal for running four times this week was brutally un-achieved when I only ran twice this week. However, both runs were moderately long and I am still happy to have done that. I also did a nice long tramp today so that counts as well, I think.

I was faithful to my continued yoga practice actually doing two-a-day yoga this week. I did not get in my two hour long sessions, but I am still happy with keeping up my yoga streak - Day 83 today!

Abs was good this week. I did about four days which was progress towards my five...

Diet this week was fairly good with a magnificent amount of vegetables consumed. I do confess that I ate a muffin one night and today I had a little baked apples with brown sugar/oats on top...Not much brown sugar though. The one thing that I am definitely proud of is the amount of times I declined chocolate and sweets! Several times this week I had every chance to splurge, but I turned it down and drank my green smoothie instead, so I am proud of that.

The point of doing this challenge is simply to ground myself and work harder towards building that strong foundation of lifestyle choices which will benefit my health, both now and in the future. It's not about proving something to myself or denying myself anything. I am happy with where I am at in my life, and I just want to learn how to better experience where I'm at.

Mantra: "Reach out to the new experiences of each day, and embrace where you are at in this present moment." ~ Namaste

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Maintaining Commitment

Well, this was the first week of increasing intensity in my running and applying more commitment to my healthy eating....

So far, so good. I ran 4 days this week (5 if you count the 1K warmup I did on my cardio day), and did 2 long yoga practices this week as well as my daily routine. I managed to do 4 days of abs this week, but didn't quite hit my goal of 5...still an improvement.

No chocolate or sugar this week...

I did have a coffee on Monday but I allowed myself that slip up because I was in an all day training class and I was DYING! haha....

Overall I am really happy with the progress I have made and I feel great. Continuing to look forward and make adjustments as I will be on study leave for the next three weeks. I am definitely excited about this extra time to do some of the things that usually get dumped in place of school/work.

Mantra: "Don't underestimate the power of commitment" ~ Namaste

Sunday, March 20, 2011


At the start of my semester my goal was simply around finding peace and calm in the midst of the chaos of my schedule - to commit to daily yoga practice and take time out to just relax. Today was day 69 of that yoga streak and it continues to bless me and allow me to de-stress in the midst of my crazy student life!

Because I did not want to over extend myself, I set no expectations for my exercise/running, no real dedication to any specific goals or anything like that.

Now that the stressful part is over I am coming into a season where there is more availability for my running and more opportunity for commitment here. Without overstepping and pushing myself too hard, I want to work towards a healthy goal of committing to a 40 day challenge.

This challenge allows me to utilize the time I have on study break as well as the first two weeks of my placements to focus on changes that will positively impact my health:

40 Day Plan:
During the week - No coffee, No sugar, No alcohol, No snacks other than vegetables
Run - minimum of four days a week with mixture of 5, 7, 11k's
Yoga - continue daily yoga practice with minimum of two one hour sessions per week
Abs - some form of core workout five days per week
Weekends - tramping, long walks, freedom to have coffee

Tomorrow starts Day 1 and I will post once a week to update my progress with this commitment. My only real expectations for the outcome after 40 days is that I would like to feel stronger and if I lost a few lbs in the process I would be quite happy with that.

It is still all about finding acceptance and grace in the moments that challenge me, so keeping this at my center is really important to me.

Mantra: "I allow myself to embrace new commitments while still accepting the person that I already am." ~ Namaste

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Peace in Chaos

It is amazing to me how quickly life seems to go by and how sometimes you can feel like it is just moving right past you. School has been amazing this semester, but really hard-out and I have been completely bombarded and overwhelmed with research, assignments, readings etc. That is merely my own personal daily life; not to mention, the chaos and destruction globally in the past several weeks.
Like the waves crashing; this can be seen as fearful/scary, or as a beautiful and restorative sound...It is not always about the circumstance we are facing, but about how we respond to and deal with that circumstance.

Universally I think it is time to just take a step back and have a mental "time out"....To take a moment to allow our minds to quiet....To be grateful for all that we have, and honor all that we have lost...To embrace the present moment and allow our breath to give us that life force that will provide us the energy and strength we need to move forward...To let go of all that no longer serves us and to acknowledge the space that is created in that release...To fill the empty space with a sense of calm and peace...

In the midst of all the demands of my course I have been managing to take daily "time out" to practice my yoga and just have a moment to focus on the present and get grounded in that. I have also been able to recognize when I needed a break and time to just rest. This is a huge shift from my usual perfectionistic nature where I am always doing and going and trying to be something bigger/better....This shift in my mentality has been tremendous for me in this semester and I can truly feel the difference in my daily life.

It is not always easy to slow down and find peace in chaos - which is the challenge, really. In yoga we practice the idea of recognizing challenge and breathing through that moment with acceptance but not "responding" to it....This is the idea that I am speaking of here, to be able to see that there is challenge and chaos and demands around you, but to be able to quiet your mind and just breathe through it. This is how I apply my yoga practice to my daily life.

Are you facing challenges and demands in your daily life? How are you responding to that? Are you letting the stress of this chaos control you, or are you making a conscious effort to acknowledge the challenge without responding to it?

Mantra: "Let the quiet of your mind bring peace in this present moment, and let your breath bring the energizing life force into every corner of your body" ~ Namaste

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Grace to Change

Just as the sun sets and rises again, so to our lives can have opportunity to set on the things of the past and rise to a new future...Discovering new things about yourself is a journey, really. I suppose none of us are ever fully matured, or "grown", we are constantly moving forward in our lives learning from our past and seeking a better future.

This week has been amazing for me. I just feel that I have grown so much in the ways that I have experienced things, the way I have dealt with situations, and the way that I feel about myself personally. It has been a very reflective week for me, and I think the reason that I share this is because I want to encourage you to also take time to reflect on where you are right now and where you have been in the past - Are you growing yourself? Are you challenging your thoughts? Are you changing behaviors within yourself so that you can experience life more fully?

To stay right where we are at in our lives can cause us to become quite stagnant, so it is actually good to constantly be changing and growing.

Mantra: "I allow myself the grace to grow and change without judgment towards the person that I once was." ~ Namaste

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness Meditation is a form of meditation which focuses on the experiences of the present moment. This type of insight meditation brings the mind to a state of awareness about the experiences and emotions felt. By accepting the experiences of the present moment without judgment there is a sense of peace and calmness.

Yesterday I came across this amazing journal article about recent findings on the influence of Mindfulness Meditation causing an increase in the gray matter of certain regions of the brain - mostly in the hippocampus - The increase in density in these areas may lead to an improvement with memory, stress responses, and an increase in serotonin (affecting mood/depression) among other things. The article is foundational for future research in this area, so I thought I would share that article with you:

Holzel, B., Carmody, J., Vangel, M., Congleton, C., Yerramsetti, S., Gard, T., & Lazer, S. (2011). Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 191, 36-43.

Mantra: "Live each day in complete awareness of the present moment." ~ Namaste

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Embracing Fear

What is fear if we do not acknowledge it? How can we overcome that which we do not understand?

On my run this morning my thoughts were focused on this coming semester and what I expect to gain from the classes that I will be taking. I have long been nervous about this particular semester because the majority of the focus is on the Mental Health aspect of our nursing program. We are fully trained in this capacity so that we will be qualified to work in this component of nursing should the need/opportunity arise (If not properly certified you cannot work in this type of nursing in NZ).

So, my fears revolve around my own insecurities and the struggles that I have faced in my own life. As I was thinking about this so much this morning I realized that what I fear the most is that I will not be able to let go of the pain that I witness/experience during my placement and that I will bring it home and carry their burdens with me. I have always been one to care for people so deeply that I can literally feel their pain as if it were my own....While this may be good in some ways, it can be physically and emotionally exhausting as well. (And obviously if you did that for every patient you would yourself become a patient.) So, this is my biggest fear...

What I hope to gain from this semester and the expectations that I have is that I want to learn how to overcome this fear and learn how to properly handle working in this type of environment. I want to have the confidence to help people without bringing harm to myself.

So, my intention is just that - By acknowledging my fear, I want to find the right way to truly overcome it so that I can be a stronger and more courageous woman.

Is there something in your life that you fear? Is it keeping you from reaching your fullest potential or from helping someone else reach theirs?

Mantra: "I allow myself to feel fear and I embrace that fear in order to overcome it." ~ Namaste

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Finding Your Authentic Self

The past 26 days I have been on a yoga streak (I used to do yoga almost every day, but lately I have made it a habit to do it EVERY day without compromise...). In the process of doing my daily yoga practice I have found that I am more and more in tune with what I want from myself for the day, and what I want from life in general.

Coming to a place where I can just be who I am without worrying about what others think of me or if I will meet their expectations is huge. I have always been the type that needs to make people happy and needs to know that I am accepted and loved by those close to me. I have struggled in my life with the necessity to live according to others expectations and desires for me; rather than my own.
When we were at Franz Joseff Glacier this was such a peaceful moment.
Over the past 10 years I have gradually left those feelings behind me and come into myself. Daily I come to a new level in my life where I am more and more ready to be exactly who I am. (Whether those around me like or accept that or not...) The past month or so my intentions to myself have been inclusive of a lot of ideas which surround the concept of authenticity. For me this just re-iterates my need to embrace the life that I have and the person that I am.

Lately I have been studying a lot about things that lead to disease and cancer - Thanks to my summer science paper, Impaired Body Function - and the thing that has gripped me the most is the impact that chronic stress can have on the development of disease and cancer...With that said; there has been incredible research to support the idea that healthy living and proper diet and exercise can drastically reduce the risk for cancer/disease. This increases my motivation even more to pursue a life that is full of peace and contentment and to ensure that daily I allow myself the time to just let go of that which no longer serves me...To just release the negative and embrace my true self.

Taking pressure off of ourselves creates a freedom within that allows us to explore new potential in our own lives. When we can stop worrying about what those around us think, and about living up to the dreams that other people have for us; we can find a true sense of peace, contentment, and happiness.

Mantra: "Compare yourself to no one, for your life is unique to you alone." ~ Namaste

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Using the energy of peace in your life

Peace ~ What brings your mind to a place where the world stands still and all is well, and you have that moment where everything feels right?

For me, my sense of stillness and peace is brought in the wind. There are just moments when I am exposed to a breeze when I just stop and realize that everything in that present moment is just perfect and exactly as it should be.

Yesterday we did a really nice tramp up Sledge Track to the Platinum Mines and along the way it was quite breezy (totally fine since most of the track was uphill and we were hot and sweaty.) As the breeze would catch the trees they would bend and sway with an eerie creaking noise, and the ferns would rustle in their own time. It was something that I cannot truly explain very well, but it was incredibly peaceful and rejuvenating to be in this rainforest surrounded by all the energy from the greenery and then feeling the refreshing breeze all around.

When we got to the top it was very windy. Looking out over all the open landscape it just gave you such a rush and a sense of how small you are in the world. It was a very peaceful moment.

I will carry that sense of peace with me throughout the week and let the memory of that breeze just energize me when I start to feel low...Just embracing the remembrance of that sense of peace in that moment.

What brings your mind into a state of peace? Use that memory to bring you back when you feel stressed or overwhelmed this week.

Mantra: "I allow myself to embrace a sense of peace in this present moment, and to let that peace wash over me and energize me for the tasks ahead."

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Brave New Year

Mantra: "Today I will be brave enough to love who I am right now in this present moment."
Like the iconic symbol in NZ of the fern, life is new and refreshing and always evolving - So fragile and yet so intricately detailed...There is a time and a season for everything under the sun. 2011 is my year for just being here - right now - in this present moment.

This year is going to be different for me because I am not planning to set any goals or resolutions - my only goal is simply to BE...To be in this present moment, to accept myself right here and now, and to live in the joy of that acceptance.

As easy as it may sound, this is actually a huge challenge because I am used to constantly pressuring myself to be more, do more, accomplish something bigger and better...I have always struggled with that need for perfection, and this new mantra and vision is one way I am making steps towards overcoming my own perfectionism.

With all the demands this year I just want to allow myself to live in this present moment without expectation of what I "should" be doing. Every time the thought, "I should..." comes to my mind I just want to focus on this mantra and remember that it's okay if I "don't".

Happy New Year ~ Namaste

*This thought was inspired by the Tiny Wisdom: On Being Fully What You Are