Monday, May 27, 2013

Moments of happiness

As my feet danced over the pavement along the outscirts of the SempacherSee and feeling the warmth of the suns golden rays on my body, I felt a wave of happiness crash over me. Its that moment of complete fulfillment, when you are vividly present in your life, not reliving the past or pondering about the future. It's that moment when the world feels like its standing still, your senses awaken and your mind has an uninterrupted connection with your feelings. It's that moment when all tension melts away and is replaced with an energy that revitalizes your whole being. These moments can be temporary or they can last an extended period of time, but too often, we are caught up in our own little world and let those moments of happiness slip by.

Happiness doesn't have to be earned, happiness IS! Too many people are moving in a world where they allow their happiness to be dictated by external factors. Of course materialistic aquirements can create happiness, but its of the temporary kind, the kind of happiness that acts as a bandaid for internal dissatisfaction.

I often felt like I could mould my happiness through what I had, what I achieved and what I could be. Those moments of aquirements, achievement and aspirations did lend me happiness, but then that nagging voice would start questioning me if I even deserve to be happy.
Thing is - we are all special and unique in our own way, and we all deserve to be happy. The greatest joy though, comes from within and loving the person you are at that moment in time. So many people SEE YOU (the person!!)... But we often dont see ourselves, instead only see the expectation we have of ourself and life.

It is a bit cliché to say, but the people who CHOOSE to have the least tend to project a satisfaction and completeness that is infectious and near impossible to oversee. They strip life down to its bare minimum and find the essence of self. They
let go of the notion that happiness makes life easy, instead realize, that true happiness, makes life easier.

It's learning that people and materialistic rewards don't create happiness, but in actual fact, add to the happiness that already lingers within. It's learning to let go of the dependancy of those external factors to make us happy and, instead, get in touch with the intrinsic feeling of happiness.

I felt the cool breeze brush over my body as the crisp air filled my lungs.
The moments of happiness began to compile creating a state of happiness. I realized that, like running, happiness is a feeling in motion, a feeling that, like each stride, never feels exactly the same. The truest happiness is the one that radiates from the inside out... The one that isn't expressed in words, instead with the beautiful facial expression which we call a smile! :')

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
― Rumi

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Trail

As I looked down the technical, steep and narrow trail I was filled with fear. I could see it happening; how I would twist my ankle or tumble as I tripped on a protruding root or stone. My body stiffened and my heart rate increased as my fear and apprehension grew. After minutes of internal monologue my mate finally began the descent and I followed in his footsteps, or tried to.
I was mesmerized by the elegance of his descent. He floated down the trail, dancing over rocks and roots as though they were his dancing partners and kicking up a solid speed. And then there was me, squirmishly tip toeing down the trail, ensuring that I wouldn't trip or hurt myself, ironically tensing up so much that, no matter how slow I went, I still ended up tripping and rolling my ankles. As we hit the bottom of one section, and Yannick had been waiting for me for quite some time, I asked him: "how do you run down the trail so fast and securely? I just don't get it." His answer was simple, "lose your FEAR, TRUST your feet and let it FLOW."

As I was lazing at home, licking my wounds from the multiple tumbles and missteps, I was triggered to think that a trail is not all that different to our path of life. If we approach that path with fear and apprehension we are per programming ourselves for a fall or "injury". Because, as soon as we allow fear to invade our lives it sends tension through our whole being; physical, emotional and mental tension. It causes an interruption to your natural flow. Sometimes fear is associated with caution. Trying to avoid a, potentially, bad outcome. This caution however, gives us the space to over think or over intellectualize things. Just like on the trail - if I spend too much time thinking about my next step I will very likely trip on my current step, because I forget to be in the moment and flow.

A trail presents you with the most unexpected yet, at times, obvious obstacles. Rocks and roots lay scattered along the ground, sometimes covered by slippery leaves only to surprise you as you step on them and quickly have to adapt your step. If we don't stay present it is hard to adapt your step, because you are already focusing on the next. Those steps aren't always elegant but you need to finish that step before you can take the next.

A trail teaches you to be in tune with your body, to open you mind - body connection. To perceive with the eye and adapt with the body. To feel into yourself and flow in motion. It reveals the meaning of the word Trust, which outshines the feeling of fear.

As the months have passed and my trail running has increased I have had more time to play on the trails. I have allowed myself to feel fear and let it go. I have allowed myself to Trust the ground over which my feet dance. I have allowed myself to move with my flow of motion and not against it. Trails give me so much pleasure now, because we have, and continue to, evolve together. It's not always a harmonic relationship and the trail still likes to test my skill, but I always remember that I was the one who chose to run that trail.

Run freely over your path of life. Lose your fear. Enjoy the beauty. Let yourself fall. Get back up. Run with life!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Yin and Yang of food

To say that I am a good cook is an exaggeration. I can cook, and occasionally enjoy the process, but when I'm hungry I want to eat. It doesn't have to be ultra flavorsome or special, it simply needs to satisfy that nagging pain in my stomach, the emptiness that sends my mind all fuzzy.

The beautiful thing about cooking and food is, that you can shar the pleasure and deliciousness with friends, as it was for me last night, when a wonderful friend, Linde, came over and cooked for me. Not only did she cook simple wholesome food, she opened my eyes to the glory of foood and the true meaning of -Fueling your Body-.

My relationship with food has been a rather testing affair over the past 10 years. Living as an Anorexic greatly obscured my views on food. Iwas living in a world where food was a lethal enemy trying to sculpt me into an ugly being, distorting my physicality. In reality the image my mind created was distorted. Every meal I HAD to eat was met with great anxiety.
I feared being around food that was being cooked because I was convinced it would leach into my skin and cause me to get fat.
I feared eating the food because I could feel how its poison (fat) was flowing through every part of my body, latching itself on to me.
I feared the aftermath of eating. The mental punishment; hours of calculations, weighing, exercise and panic as I witnessed my stomach swell to an unhumanly size, leaving me unable to move with shame.

It all started innocently, with the idea to try and lose a kilo or two so I could see if I could manipulate my body into the shape I desired. I made mild changes to my diet and exercise, ate a little less (without excluding food) and exercised a little more (I was already a very active kid). It didn't take long until I saw the first kilo drop. I liked the scales reassurance, but I didn't like that I didn't see a physical difference. There was only one way forward -  lose more weight.

I'm still not sure what image I was chasing. Maybe I wasn't chasing an image, rather seeking approval and validation. Maybe I wasn't seeking approval and validation from others, rather from myself. Maybe I wanted to reflect perfection and beauty. Maybe I was in search of myself, but got even more lost in that search.

My eating became more controlled and compulsively calculated. Everyday would be the same routine - wakeup do 100 pushups, 100 crunches and 1000 skips (same would be repeated at night). I would continue with breakfast by cutting an apple into 40 pieces, eat one piece, have a minute break before I ate the next slice. It took me 1hr20mins to eat the damn thing. I would maky my way to school preparing for the teasing comments of other kids because of my fragile physique. 'What are they talking about', I would think, 'I'm just being concious about my health and appearance'. I would go home at lunch trying to figure out how I could eat as little as possible without stirring mum's attention. Then I had to punish myself for eating by exercising for hours until my mind was fuzzy, my vision hazy and my body drained of every drop of energy. Then I would face dinner, mostly alone... At 6pm on the dot, just me and a yoghurt, no one watching me other than Anorexia.

Food was my enemy, Anorexia was my friend. She only wanted the best for me, or so I thought.

I hit rockbottom at 31kg, which is when I got admitted to hospital and my fight to gain back my life began.
In the process of gaining back the control for my life I met my great Love - RUNNING. Over time, I learnt that I needed fuel to reciprocate the love running was giving me. I slowly began to trust in the food I chose to eat, allowing my physique to gain shape, and my body to heal from the ordeal and my mind to find peace.
As my running has grown stronger over the last year, or so, so has my freedom as I let go of the control over food. Ironically I started fuelling the tank with whatever I desired, even food that would have been Tabu not all that long ago.

As Linde and I were sitting and enjoying the flavorsome feast of Tempeh, homemade Hommus and a devine Carrot Salad, Linde began to talk about food and its effects on the body. I was completely drawn into her words as she passionately spoke about the Yin and Yang of food. Yin (female) being food that is good for you, mild in flavor, yet wholesome and nourishing. Yang (male) being aggressive food, strong in flavor and often processed, the type of food that isn't so favorable for the engine.
As I ate, I could feel the explosion of flavor in my mouth, how the goodness of what we were devouring was reviving me from the inside and how light and energized I felt afterward. I felt satisfied.

Being healthy doesn't mean you need to be thin and lean, it doesn't mean you can't carry an extra few Kg's. Being healthy is conciousness of your WHOLE being. Respecting your body and striving to nurture it as best as you can.

You only have ONE body!!

Enjoy x