These Are a Few of My Favourite Things

I’m now just over two months in, in my Figure Things Out quest, and while I know I have bounced a lot of positives and negatives around in the last two months of documenting my journey, I thought it might be helpful, not only for you the reader, but also for myself to get into the habit of listing out what has worked.

For you, it may provide some guidance or ideas, and for me it will provide a reference guide that I can return to, when I am feeling a bit lost.

Some of these items may not end up working in the long run for me, and I’d like to think that as part of the growth process I will add to the list, but it’s a starting point, if nothing else.  As with all of my suggestions here, some of these may be of interest for others, and some may not.  I’m not falling under the pretence of doling out advice, more so just sharing what has worked for me.

One of the biggest things that has worked for me, was an energy cleansing session I went to about a month ago.  As I referenced in the post where I detailed the session, Year-Ago-Me wouldn’t have put too much stock or value into this practice.  I would have said it was too airy-fairy and too out there.  As I’ve been opening up more and more though, to different experiences, practices, resources and techniques, this was something that ended up gradually piquing my interest.  I’ve heard now from a few friends who have attended such sessions, and all have spoken really positively about their experiences.  I admittedly went into the session thinking I was too broken, and that I would have too much bad or negative energy to be adequately addressed and cleared, but Nathalie was incredibly warm and welcoming and took the time to walk me through the process.  While I didn’t necessarily come away with something concrete or tangible per-say, I came out with an abundance of hope and trust; two things I haven’t experienced now for some time.  I also came out with an overwhelming sense of self-forgiveness.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve fallen into the habit of self-blame and recrimination.  I have a tendency to believe every bad thing that happens is my fault.

The work that I did with Nathalie in that hour long session allowed me to let myself off the hook, which was probably the biggest take away for me.  For maybe the first time in a very long time, I experienced compassion for myself, which is significant, to put it lightly.

I was fortunate enough that Nathalie also doubles as a naturopath, so we were also able to take some time to look at certain imbalances in my system, so that we could in turn address those deficits.  After some gentle questioning and a really thorough examination, I came away with suggestions for some natural supplements that I could take in order to level out my neurotransmitters.  I know if I had gone to see a doctor, I would have likely walked away with a prescription for anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds, but that isn’t a route I want to explore.  It is my plan to make sessions with Nathalie a more regular occurrence as I found I greatly benefitted from her work.  You can find more information about Nathalie and her services here.

Massage has been really instrumental for me, in the area of self-care.  While I haven’t been able to get out for massages too often, I know they really work wonders for me.

As someone who has spent the majority of her life being incredibly self-conscious of her body, massage has proven to be a great means for me to not only be in the moment, and literally relax, but has also been a way for me to feel more comfortable in my skin.  There is something beautifully healing about human touch, whether it is in the form of massage or a really great hug.  The firmer the hug, and the deeper pressured the massage is, the better for me.  I’ve always been someone who has benefitted from heavy pressure.  I’ll typically sleep with layers of blankets and duvets on, as I sleep better with the weight of them.  Often when I am sitting on the couch, I’ll grab a blanket that has been folded a few times over and place it on my lap.  I find the weight helps to calm and relax me, and the same goes for deep pressure touch.  I think to a certain extent, a lot of us respond to various sensory cues, and when you are able to become more aware of one that works for you, you can more easily employ it in a variety of ways.

While I still haven’t been able to fall into a regular routine with it, meditation is something that has really helped me.  For me, I do better with a guided meditation, and I find if there is a mantra or a repeated phrase, it’s even more effective.  Every once in a while, Deepak Chopra does a free 21 day guided meditation  but I’ve also used Brendon Burchard’s Release meditation and found it to be quite effective.  I also really enjoy Insight Timer, which offers up tremendous variety, from guided meditations, to music, to themes.  Meditation is something that has helped with my sleep too.  I have to be a bit more picky here than I am when I do a meditation during the day.  Typically, if I am listening to a meditation right before bed, it has to be one with some guidance, but not too much.  When I have incorporated a bed-time meditation, I’ll often enjoy a decent night of sleep, only waking up a few times.

Regular exercise, and shifting my perspective and beliefs about exercise has helped a lot.  I’ve always found regular, intense exercise to be of benefit-I think part of it ties in with my positive response to deep pressure.  I made a tiny breakthrough the other day, when I was thinking about exercise and being active.  As I’ve detailed now a few times, being active is something that has been a part of my daily routine now for nearly the last 20 years.  I started incorporating exercise into my day when I was 19 when I would go for hour long walks, each morning before my university classes began.  Walking was something I really enjoyed, and I loved being able to get out and do it first thing in the morning.  When I moved up to Grassy though, walking alone at 5 am or 6 am wasn’t really feasible, between the rez dogs and the bears which frequented the reserve in the spring and summer.  The school that I worked at, at the time had a small fitness room where there was a lone stationary bike, so I traded in my walks for an hour on the bike.

Whichever form of moving I chose, whether it was walking, or biking or running, I preferred doing it in the morning.  Up until a few days ago, when I had my mini-breakthrough, I assumed I did it in the mornings to get it out of the way.  I was regarding exercise as a chore and something I wanted to get off my to-do list before too many things made it on.  I realized though, that my regarding exercise as a chore is only a fairly recent perspective I have adopted, likely in the last 3 years, when everything has been a bit of a mess.  Prior to that, being active first thing in the morning was a way that I was able to set the tone for the remainder of the day.  It gave me boundless energy, and helped me manage whatever challenges might come up.  It allowed me the opportunity to do something proactive first thing and gave me a tremendous sense of accomplishment, usually before 7 am.  I’m working now at shifting what has been my more recent perspective-that exercise is a chore or a task that is bothersome-to my former perspective, where being active was an accomplishment and gave me a semblance of pride.

This particular week has ended up being a bit of a documentary week for me.  It started with the outdoor screening of Demain on Tuesday.   My initial thoughts of despair that were provoked within the first half of the doc, were soon replaced with inspiration, and a re-kindled passion in education that thinks outside the box-I’ve now added Teaching in Finland to my list of interests to consider.  On Wednesday, I naively walked into the documentary Earthlings.  Ian had told me about this film, and had warned me that it was a very raw look at how we are as a species, dependant on animals.  It was a really difficult film to get through, and at many moments, I wasn’t sure if I was going to cry or throw-up, but again, it provoked questions and thoughts, and re-fuelled some of my interests.  I finished off the documentary theme, by sitting down with What the Health today.  I’m not suggesting documentary watching is healing, but it’s been my experience that documentaries can be incredibly thought-provoking, and can allow the viewer to step a little beyond his or her own personal existence.

Depending on the documentary, they can invite the viewer to think bigger, and encourage a movement to change for the greater good.  All 3 of the documentaries I watched this week were very independent of one another, but all of them inspired me to look beyond my own situation and consider things I could be doing to generate and create a positive change.  Whether your personal interests and passions include veganism or climate change, I think it’s really helpful to be passionate about SOMETHING.  Documentaries, for me are a really useful means to inspire and provoke thought.  If I have learned nothing else now over the last few months, it is that I am inherently someone who likes to contribute and give and help.  I just need to learn to do it with balance, while looking after myself too.

I’ve read a few books now and some articles that have been great and have challenged my thinking and habits.

I’ve found Brene Brown and her work to be really inspiring-her book The Gifts of Imperfection was especially insightful.

Ian’s book, has helped me become more aware of my own thought process, and has provided me with resources and tools on how I can begin to shift and hone my attention, rather than continue on in its sporadic and unfocused nature that has been the last 3 years.  It speaks of the idea of goal-setting and working towards something specific and provides a really sound framework to work by.

This article spoke to my soul, about being empathetic, and how I can better look after myself by being more aware of myself.

In this article on anxiety, I was able to see a means wherein I could learn to better manage my own newly developed anxiety.  I’m not really one for prescribed medications, so any natural remedies or ideas on how to treat ailments or illnesses is welcome, in my books.  In all of this, I am not so much looking at treating my symptoms, but rather addressing the issues at the root cause and working up from there.  If medication has worked for you, that’s great-it’s just not my jam.

Finally, writing has been a god-send for me.  In a world where I have struggled to find my voice and articulate and express my thoughts, writing has always been a form wherein I have found great solace.  While I enjoy face-to-face interactions, I’m not much of one for the phone, so in the absence or difficulty in arranging a get-together, writing is my go-to.  I believe we’re all inherently creative in different ways, and for me the written word has provided an easy access point to my own expression.

With Love,

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Olivia Shaw

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