Parents: Get back into the rhythm of the day with an exercise routine


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As a parent of young kids, it can be challenging to schedule in time for yourself each day. There will always be plenty of others things to catch up on and before you know it, you have spent the last few months or even years of your life, not having taken time just for yourself. Don’t become a victim of your situation! Even if it’s just getting in a 15 minute workout doing yoga, tai chi, qigong, a morning walk, or a simple stretch routine, I challenge you to try and schedule in that time just for yourself. Exercise helps flush toxins, rejuvenates and repairs your body, and boosts your overall mood. Wake up a half hour earlier or schedule it in after the kids have gone to bed. I promise you won’t regret it. And even if you miss a few days, get right back on it. You’ll feel amazing in no time. What things do you like to do just for yourself?

 

 

How Acupuncture Can Heal Your Broken Heart


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Ah…Valentine’s Day. It’s a very special day to honour the people you love today. Hopefully, you have been doing your best to do this each and everyday! For some, it may also be a very difficult day that brings painful memories to the surface. If you have suffered a significant loss or breakup, a day like today seems like a pretty good one to avoid. Which is totally acceptable and understandable. A broken heart is a very difficult thing to take care of. But what do you do when you’re ready to move forward and learn to love with an open heart again?

I’m generally a pretty content person. There have been a few times that have really brought me into a period of deep-seated sadness. The loss of my father after battling crazy cancer is one of them. Realizing that you have lost someone who has been a constant in your life is an indescribable feeling. While the initial raw feelings will eventually transform into a more “refined” sense of loss, they leave an indelible print…one that can eventually strengthen or uproot you. These periods of loss and change are times when support from family, friends and your health team are very much in order. For those who have a hard time expressing their emotions verbally with a counsellor and/or friend, Chinese medicine and acupuncture can be very helpful to release you from the incredible sadness that is weighing you down.

Acupuncture serves to unblock stuck energy in the pathways of the body, also known as “meridians”, that are closely connected to the nervous system, immune system, and circulatory system. By using specific points along the affected channels, the body responds by physically relaxing tight, contracted muscles, increasing blood flow to the local and adjacent areas, warming up the torso, limbs and extremities, and calming the mind. The little pins that are inserted are hair-fine in thickness and glide smoothly under the skin. Most people experience an initial mosquito bite sensation followed by a warm / cool tingling sensation around the points. The complete state of deep relaxation that follows is something that not only offers immediate physical and emotional relief, but can help reset long-standing holding patterns and behaviour.

When someone suffers from a broken heart, there may be accompanying symptoms of shock, fear, anxiety, insomnia, poor appetite, low energy, and long-standing grief. Acupuncture can help you address these concerns as well.

In Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), it is said that the Heart (心, pinyin: xīn) is the “Monarch” of all the other organ systems and the whole body. It governs the blood and vessels and stores the Shen (mind). Without the heart, the brain could not function. When the heart is working properly, there is a brightness in the eyes, a sharp memory with a clear and open mind, and a joyful heart. When you look at someone with healthy Shen there is a general feeling of the whole body and spirit being vibrant, healthy and happy. This person radiates such energy and spirit that it is hard to resist them!

Whatever your association with February 14th, let it at least serve as a reminder to take the time to really nurture and care for yourself, whether it be with acupuncture, meditation, prayer, exercise, a nourishing meal, a walk with a friend, a hug from someone you love, or all of the above. After all, you have been gifted with this body and soul that makes you unique. There is no one else like you! So take the time to figure out what you need to help create the best, happiest version of YOU that you can send out into the world.

Creating a Vision Board for 2014: Make Your Dreams Reality!


Yesterday we enjoyed a fantastic New Year’s day dim sum with our “family”. I love how our family not only includes our most immediate family members but also our long-time family friends and their family. We were a total of 14 spanning three generations, and all indulging our love of dim sum and good cheer. Following our brunch, we braved the winter wind a few short blocks so that we could escape into movie theatre land where we cozied up to one another with popcorn in hand and watched ‘Frozen’. I have to say that my children aren’t particularly adept at sitting through a feature length film yet, and since they only watch a few select kids’ shows on netflix that have zero plot twists, they had a really difficult time watching some of the upsetting and scarier scenes in the movie. All in all though, it was a fun one to watch.

Since the past week and a half has really been at odds with my goals and aspirations for the year, I am hoping to anchor myself with a vision board. This was suggested to me by my coach and I think it’s a fantastic idea for anyone to implement.

What is a vision board? It is a visual board that can either be made with magazine and paper clippings or done virtually on a personal board on Pinterest using images culled from the web. The items that you post onto your board should be a reflection of what inspires you and what represents your dreams and vision for the year and beyond. If you aren’t sure where to start, just post those things that most intrigue you first. Slowly, you will discover what your true passions are.

Once you have the concept of your ideal life forming on your vision board, review it everyday to help you visualize your full potential and achieve your dreams.

What do you want your ideal life to look like? How do you live, breathe and move in this new vision for yourself? What images appear when you think of your ideal work/life balance, your ideal state of health, your ideal social and family life? Are there specific places you want to visit? Specific activities you wish to experience, or specific people you want to meet? What are the things you most wish to accomplish? What inspires you to become your best version of your self?

Use the most beautiful pictures, photographs, hand-written notes, and inspirational quotes you can find and set your heart and spirit free!

Here are some great articles for more info on how to create your own vision board and make 2014 your best year ever:

Martha Beck’s, How to Make a Vision Board – And How it Can Change Your Life on Oprah.com

Jayme Barrett’s Manifestation Board: How to Design a Blueprint for Your Dreams.

Happy vision boarding :)

-M.

Happy New Year 2014! A plan for the present moment


Happy New Year! My New Year’s started off on a great note. I fell asleep after putting the kids to bed, and didn’t wake up until this morning! Gah!!

So much for planning to celebrate with my hubby by the fireplace at the stroke of midnight!

Having children has taught me to really let go of set schedules and imperfections…even when events which disrupt my plans initially produce feelings of disappointment or discontent. Like any other major life change that requires our full attention (a birth, a death, a separation, an injury or illness, etc), raising young children requires a considerable amount of effort that we often neglect to acknowledge when we’re still in the midst of it all.

The last week brought many unexpected surprises that completely through our Christmas plans for a loop. First, most of our city suffered a power outage after the ice storm that hit just a few days before Christmas. We were so fortunate to have a gas stove and fireplace at least which we willingly shared with our neighbours. Then, a few days later and still in the dark, we braved another misadventure. Under a fantastic little headlamp, we cleaned up projectile vomit from our 4 year old and later our 6 year old that hit the blankets, beds and walls. Even our 1 year old was not immune to this virus, but thankfully she didn’t start until 36 hours later. The dinner we had planned for Christmas Eve? Pouff! Gone. Christmas Day dinner with family at a friend’s house? Also gone. We ended up eating cold pizzas under candlelight and wishing the holiday from $%^*& would just end. When not dealing with sick kids, the days were spent cleaning out the fridge, and cleaning up debris from all the branches that had fallen outside. There were nice moments as well that made the experience less trying….like friendly neighbours helping one another or coming into chat by the fire (before the kids got sick!); and also the beautiful yet tragic aftermath of the ice storm that left tree branches bent over or on the ground, coated in a thick clear, impenetrable ice.

And then, after 3 days without power, the electricity and heat returned, and a good 5 days after that, our children’s health finally returned. So things eventually turned out ok, after all! But it did made me realize how very dependent our plans are to our surrounding environment and situation. Pushing to achieve what you’d planned on a certain day, may be spinning your wheels needlessly. Sometimes you just have to accept the situation you’re placed in and get down to the real business at hand!

So this year, I still PLAN to:

a) get back in shape with a former workout routine involving qigong, running, cycling, swimming, and skiing

b) get back to healthier eating: eat less, drink more (and whenever possible choose whole, simple foods whose production is easy on the environment and our body)

c) be more fun around my kids (less work, more laughter and play!)

d) be a better partner (listen with a soft heart to my husband, and create a supportive and nurturing environment for us both to grow professionally as well as a  loving couple)

e) be present for my extended family (set aside time to help my mum and my siblings more)

f) create the practice of my dreams (this is a biggy, but I’m working on it!)

But if things don’t fall into neat little time slots or events, I will not spend more than is necessary to dwell on it. I will simply MOVE on :)

May this year bring you all that you could wish for and more and may the little things make you truly happy.

Love,
M.

 

 

 

Out with the Old, In with the New


As 2013 comes to an end, many of us are inspired to start the new year with a fresh perspective. We are usually ready to let go of ‘things’.

Letting go of material things such as used or unwanted clothing, toys, gadgets, furniture is often the first thing we are motivated to do. And with a bit of will power and time reserved for this, reducing clutter in our lives from a theoretical perspective, is a simple task.

For some people however, taking stock of what material possessions we no longer need is tied up to more complex associations with actual experiences and their resulting emotions. It becomes difficult to let go of the physical objects when the mind associates this act with letting go of things that no longer serve us from an emotional level.

Implementing new strategies such as a new workout or diet strategy are inspiring as they promise us a new body, a new way of being that we can be proud of.

But what of sad memories, physical discomfort, or emotional trauma? Have we truly identified the less tangible items that block us from transforming into the truly powerful beings we have the capacity to become?

This year has been a very reflective one for me. Despite my preference to live a more organized and scheduled life, life has thrown my family a few setbacks. Nothing major this year thankfully, but frustrating nonetheless.

What are some of the things that you are most excited to change? What are you looking forward to trying or accomplishing this year?

 

 

New Goals for a New Year


This year, I challenge you to take inventory of everything you have already accomplished in your life and see how these things can bring you to a new level of understanding. This year, I challenge you to not rely on others as much or sign up for the latest program, course, and/or scheduled class to get you where you need to go.

What great things can we accomplish if we trust the knowledge we already possess to help navigate any challenges in the New Year?

This doesn’t mean you should not seek help from those people you know and trust already. Or that you shouldn’t actively search for new resources that may help you accomplish your goals. It does mean highlighting your own efforts, achievements, and the person you know the best…yourself, to take YOU where you need to go!

As we enter into a new year, with renewed hope and inspiration for accomplishing our dreams, I wish you all the very best!

 

Stone Soup for an Ice Storm


This week was a physically, mentally, and emotionally trying week for us as an ice storm, the likes of which our beautiful city had not seen in forty plus years, descended upon us. Despairing tree branches creaked and groaned under the heavy weight of an inch plus of seemingly innocent ice, as their weakest members fell with dread. The only other sounds were the whispers of sparkling red berried bushes, and tall grasses that crisped and crackled under the lowered rays of the sun. Animals and people alike, scattered to look for other means of shelter.

The first few nights without central heat that took down power lines and destroyed vehicles and homes, were devastating for several and inconvenient for most. Yet neighbours, friends, and family all joined in and found ways to help one another, lending strong arms to lift heavy branches off the streets, checking on one another with offers of food, clothing, light and shelter and through hopeful verbal exchanges.

As we were one of the fortunate ones to have a gas stove and fireplace, we opened up our home for communal comfort and warmth. Our visitors, many of whom had to cancel holiday dinner plans, brought what they had and we all joined together sharing stories under natural light by day, and later, candlelit dinners by night to create our very own “Stone Soup” experience. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_Soup

I wish you all the very best this holiday season, and as you navigate the experiences of the coming year, the ability to cherish new and beautiful moments, and the fortitude to move forward with light when there is dark.