.The Time My Body Told me To Chill.

There was this time in my life when I worked out every single day. I was into marathons, swimming long distances and going crazy at the gym. That was the time when I quit smoking and ate super healthy. I had this feeling that I have to push myself further and proof to my teacher at the academy that I can run longer distances, do better, be stronger and most importantly push my body to the limit. And I did. I ran every single day and ended up finishing two full and four half marathons within a very short time of preparation. At some point, with all this training, my body sent me some strong signals that I conveniently ignored. My knee started to hurt. Initially, it was not a big deal. Nothing some frozen peas in a bag from the freezer could fix. I had to train after all asking myself why my body just cannot do what I say instead of being so insolent. My body is supposed to listen to me, right?! Wrong!

Well, I did not listen to my body at all and pushed it to the limit. Training was all I was looking forward to the entire day. As soon as the lectures were over at 4 pm, I changed into my running gear. Do not get me wrong, some days sucked and I did not even want to run but I always had this urge to get better and to proof something to someone. I even realized that my gym teacher was amazed but also told me to stop when it hurts. I did not. And this is how it started.

After weeks of knee pain, I could not seem to shake it off anymore. I saw the doctor and was diagnosed with iliotibial band syndrome. This meant she prescribed some anti-inflammatory, told me to avoid any activity and recommended some physical therapy. I realized that the half marathon was just around the corner and I trained so hard for it. Also, this would mean that all my other forms of fitness (yoga, cycling, the gym, swimming etc.) would be on hold. This cannot happen. I trained so hard. I was in physically top condition besides this stupid knee so who cares, I kept running slowly. For someone who exercises six days out of seven and made a habit out of this exercising routine, a knee cannot stop me, right?!

At some point, my knee hurt so badly that I did not see exercising at this level as an enjoyable health benefit anymore. I knew I had to stop. My doctor told me that if I do not stop I would need knee surgery for sure. My knee was so swollen that I could hardly walk and honestly when I finally stopped running, it felt like a relief and I finally realized and woke up. The pain was excruciating at this point. So I rested and reflected. Why did I let my knee get to this stage? Why did I push myself to a limit that nobody but my myself set?

So, I rested. It was weird but I relished setting my alarm an hour and a half later than I normally would every single morning. I loved my morning runs usually more than the afternoon ones. Getting this done in the morning made me feel accomplished, happy and satisfied for the whole day. I enjoyed having time in the afternoon for errands or to squeeze in a session at the gym instead of running. So now what the f*** is going on with me? I am continuously resting instead of pushing my body to this intangible limit every single day with no end in sight like a dumb hamster on a wheel because I feel guilty. Because I still feel I have to prove it to my teacher.

You know what I learned? There is no teacher who gives a f*** about me, about my health, about my life or anything like that. It was all in my head. I thought I have to prove to him that I am the best. That I can run faster and better than anybody else. I did not want this knee surgery to happen so I started to create a fitness routine of not having a fitness routine. I also knew that my life as a professional “rester and chiller-on-the-bed” was temporary. It would only last as long as until my knee was fully functional again and I will give it the time to rest and recover. I started working out slowly when after the pain started to dissipate after four months and 10 kg gained. However, there was this weird feeling about starting to run again and my overall relationship with exercise. I realized that I worked out and treated my body badly and pushed it to a limit; a limit that will get me nowhere in the long run. There still was this critical relationship with exercising that threw me in a weird stage. I tried to think of a time when I and my body felt really healthy and came up blank. I remember I always had this feeling that I have to satisfy or proof something to someone. My parents, my gym teacher in High School or in Police Academy. There was always this ingrained messaging that I believe now, wasn’t even there in all those years. All I really wanted to hear was that I am okay, just the way I am without pushing my already hurt body to another level.

Yet, there was my own frustration. Exercising for me has the potential to feel and be really wonderful, enriching, powerful and life-affirming in some way. I love this feeling to bend, run, twist, how I sweat during hot yoga, move around with my son in the park and be able to do all these things freely without pain. When someone told me they ran some particular marathon in under 3 hours I was jealous because I felt so far from achieving this perspective for myself. Then again, I also thought that it is possible to get back into it all and that it is all possible. That I simply have to listen to my body and give it time to heal properly since it took me this self-inflicted injury to come to grips with the fact that the fitness path I was hurtling down for so long was hurting me instead of helping me. So, now I am taking it easy but bringing my mental equation into it all in the first place feels like a good start. And watching South Park here and there with supper that includes sautéed shrimp.

.Gaslighting, and then Time Stood Still.

Of course, we ended up at our Sushi Restaurant since we are both addicted to eating it and it is the best place to indulge in “salmon and tuna happiness” in my hometown. We were both happy to see each other again since it has been a long time and so much happened after we last met. I looked forward to this evening, was excited to meet my friend Judith and the evening that lied ahead of us. Our enthusiasm and anticipation for hours of conversations got stronger while we walked through narrow back streets to the tiny restaurant. Since I haven’t been here in a while, I took it all in. Any unfamiliar spots that may become new landmarks or create new memories. Now, since I call this home again for this week, I am seeing my city in an entirely new light. 

We turned into another street and already slow traffic turned into a complete standstill and finally no cars at all. This peacefulness and silence. While we walk, I scan every inch of the street. I scan every façade, every name on the various shop signs, cheese stores, vintage clothing stores, restaurants and cocktail bars. Home. I observed other people walking by who interacted and went on about their lives. I listened to the noise of an ambulance that drove by but I was silent and content. We entered the restaurant and it was empty. Silence. 

While we ate and she spoke to me, I really focused on her talking to me and the background started to blur a bit when I really looked at her and her face. The reason why I was mesmerized by this seemingly ordinary moment was that I felt that it is so important to really listen to certain people with this level of attention. 

She mentioned and eventually told me more about gaslighting which is, according to Wikipedia “a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief”. 

I hung onto every single word she uttered, my jaw dropped and my eyes were wide. The world around me simply did not exist. What I was l listening to was a perfect example of a state of flow. The waitress came to bring us our food and I snapped out of it. Why am I writing all this down? Because my friend made time stand still for a brief moment; made me think and reflect. I felt like if I was the only person in the room since I was so fully absorbed and sort of morphed into my personal story itself. I simply captured a somewhat fleeting moment of unedited, pure and authentic human connection while listening to her. I felt like everything else around me fade away while I regurgitated my previous relationship but for some reason, it all felt okay since I was with her who truly listened. This tiny magical moment. She told me about focus and how we constantly feel rushed, scattered and busy to really look at the situation we are in. She mentioned her troubles at work and that without focus, there is actually little to no chance of creating anything of substance and we get nowhere. It reminded me that some people start projects here and then another one over there while in the end nothing gets accomplished. Sysiphus. However, they plan project three, four and five in their head while taking flying lessons and finishing two Master degrees online with an IQ of 164. Without focus, they also damage relationships. 

Tonight, I simply tried to focus on the present moment and time started to feel more expansive. I felt I had a clearer mind, was more fulfilled, inspired, calmer and felt less rushed. The key is to set clear boundaries how far one allows something to continue in their life. Suddenly, life became quieter which was a great feeling since I was all over the place in the last couple of weeks. I also refound magic in the mundane since I kept experiencing these pleasures in life; like tonight as well as several others moments in the last couple of weeks. I realize that those things happen when I am mindful. They happen when I actually pay real close attention to what someone says and does (like cooking shrimp) without being distracted or when I focus on the color of the sky, birds singing or the fresh morning air on my skin while jogging.  

Tonight, I really listened and gave her undivided attention and rediscovered her little quirks, the real beauty of her inside and her unique way of laughing about my comments to the waiter at the sushi restaurant. I treasure our friendship and started to love her from scratch again. Tonight I realized that whatever happened recently in her or my life, in the greater scheme of things, nothing matters more than the human moments right here and now because we cannot turn back time.

Many other things going on in my life simple need time, breathing room and space to sort them out but I know I will feel better in the long run without certain people. I have been reminded tonight that I have to make time count and create space for humans and wonders as well as for creation and gratitude. 

.Love Actually.

I experienced love (or so I thought) when I was 16 years old. I had my first boyfriend and realized that I never had a feeling like this before. A feeling of being totally happy and content with the other person. The word for this is apparently love, I thought, so I said it out loud. My boyfriend at that time paused however and let my words hang in the air for a few seconds before he responded, I think I love you, too. He explained to me later that he could not name something like love which is just a 4-letter word to him and he never really experienced or said it to anyone before. For me on the other hand, I thought I knew exactly what this word means since I had this strange new feeling in my chest everytime I thought of him. 

There are so many “firsts” in life. We learn and speak a new language, we start to ride a bike and we sort of know that the initial discomfort we experience is just temporary. Of course, we are expected to fall off that bike and scratch our knees as well as we are expected to destroy the pronunciation of the world “millefeuille”; however, we will figure it out eventually. Whatever seemed impossible at first becomes second nature at some point. This theory applies to a lot of things but it seems it does not so much with being or falling in love. 

What is love anyway? What do we actually mean when we say, I love you

Throughout the years I have learned and realized that love is perpetually uncomfortable rather than constantly thrilling. Yet, love is something that may keep me up all night. Love is a weird game of assuming and guessing and is great to misinterpret or to analyze to some insane point. What is a normal relationship? Do there need to be high highs and low lows at points or is it rather smooth sailing instead or this oscillating wave? 

So being in love in high school meant for me being engaged in silly fights, arguments, and betrayals but also with a lot of sobbing into the shoulder of his shirt after we were “good again”. It meant I wanted him to spend time with me all the time. It meant getting a “friendship ring”. It meant using him as a security blanket yet I knew when I joined police academy and moved away a breakup was imminent which also made my chest feel tight. So many changes and we were so young. It felt suffocating and intoxicating at the same time. It was messy, exciting, devastating, uncertain but all this is what love is supposed to be like, right? 

Is love a game? There are periods of time when I patiently waited for a message from my partners but nothing arrived. I thought this meant he is not that into me. If he does not write back after we had sex, it means he does not want to have a serious relationship. If he wants to move in with me too quickly, this means he really loves me because he wants to get to know me. I changed certain boyfriend’s names in my phone to “asshole”, “do not pick up”, “psycho” or a monster emoji. Sometimes, when people asked me if I am still in love with a partner I said, NO, absolutely not and deep inside I thought I just feel nauseated, pathetic, and precarious. So, maybe love is supposed to feel like that? Does this mean I am still in love? It cannot be love because I felt pain. Pain/love, I am not so sure about since I detest the housewife porn 50 Shades of Grey. 

I started dating again. He did not say I love you within the first week or months and I realized how happy this made me feel. Also, I did not have the feeling to say it either. I realized then and there that this label LOVE may just not be real love but just something you say because one is supposed to say it. “Screw love: respect and honesty are what we need”, a very close friend of mine told me tonight and I reckon he made a good point.

It is a great feeling to realize that fighting is not an issue with certain people. That things can be very easy and simple conversations and valuable time spent together is salient (fancy word for important). Cooking together, talking for hours, watching something or reading together is different without putting the love-label on it all but rather just enjoying each other’s company. Just totally and utterly unremarkable things that mean a lot to me. But this is where I am now realizing that love in its steadiest, truest and rewarding form is just simply dull. Since I do not focus and put pressure on love hence there is nothing to overanalyze and nothing to second-guess, to refuel or pursue, to proof which means it is easy and so contrary to popular stereotypes and cinematic tropes. That does not mean it is not exciting but it is something that does not pick me up and drops me but rather buoys me instead. It just is. And it is perfect this way. For me. 

.A Letter to my Son.

My love, 

I listened to the news this morning by mistake. I rarely do and it hurt me to realize that the world has gotten even fuller of pressure to pretend than ever. Everybody is on social media and pretends to post their happy life by adding perfectly poised pictures and more empty invitations into an unrealistic yet seemingly idealistic life. While you play with the snails, listen to me. 

It is all empty. Life is empty unless you give it meaning. No one ever has or has had a perfect life. Everyone struggles, everyone has pain and is lonely here and there. I saw this today when I visited your great-grandparents. They are struggling and suffering every single day but keep moving forward despite the pain they feel. Yet, everyone wrestles with anger and feels insecure at certain points. Actually, there is no ticket out of all this. I have tried many options but it simply ended in anger and I lost the joy in the process. Nothing is ever enough. No friend you can have, no gadgets you will buy that will ever be enough. You will always compare and the comparison is a stealer of joy which is a stealer of the gift of you-you, in all your uniqueness. 

So, how does mom deal with all this insanity? Mommy buys and eats a lot of healthy food but also a lot of chocolate. Or she buys a new pair of jeans or gets a haircut for $5. I love to be distracted by something fun than dealing with my own troubling thoughts all the time. Doing all this could be helpful but it can never be everything. You know when the most healing comes? When I share all my struggles and tell the truth to someone who is worth listening, understanding and hearing it all. Most of the time, the person who really needs to hear the truth first is me, however. You know what my self-preservation of choice is? Denial that all that happened did not happen. That everything is exactly as it was before I found out. When we were not perfect but together and had the option to change things. 

One thing I have learned so far is that I would rather walk in my truth than pretend and feel alone. Telling and knowing the truth is important and makes me feel so much better. It is a breath of fresh air even though certain doors are closing. At least it is honest. Remember when I told you that the braves ones, the ones worthy of our admiration are those who walk through life authentically and honest? These braves ones are out there. Trust me. They are. You know how you will find out? Because they are nice and by their honesty and kindness which makes them so attractive rather than constantly pretending, being arrogant or cocky and getting nothing accomplished. The former also will have grace for you and most importantly grace for themselves. 

My love, you know what is the loneliest of professions? Pretending. When I was young I tried to look like some girls in these dumb magazines imagining my thighs narrow and my cheekbones well defined and covered in make-up. I thought everyone will like me or that I would even like myself and be more confident. Guess what, my love? It is not true. Pretending is the most lonesome or desolate professions and gets you nowhere. Please do not pretend that there is no struggle and do not pretend that you always know what you are doing because nobody ever does. Also, keep in mind, there is nobody to impress. It may seem like it, but believe me, there is not. You know what? Sometimes those people we think who have everything they ever want in their life are actually the loneliest and saddest. 

Keep in mind my love that you never have to be anyone other than you. Period. It is okay to be grumpy, to not finish your homework and to have messy hair that does not look like Paw Patrol’s Ryder’s hair. It is okay to be excited for no apparent reason. I am the same way. You are allowed to need help because we ALL need help sometimes. You are also allowed to be loud, you are allowed to be quiet and most importantly you are allowed to be you. You do not need anybody’s permission to be you. 

Today, when we were at the movie theater I thought that your little grumpiness before we left was met by my grumpiness because I was so tired and jet lagged. Sometimes I react wrongly to your excitement. My love, I will not always get it right but that does not mean you are getting it wrong. All I am doing is to just figure it all out and to apologize when I realize I messed up. But you know what? I would rather be messy with you every day for the rest of my life than to spend one single day pretending or without you. I would rather make mistakes and then apologize; I would rather love hard and strong and most importantly freely than sell myself for a picture of perfection. You know what is continuously walking through life? Joy! Joy is walking through your life and through others who really know you. Your grandparents for example. Since we are here in Germany with your family you especially feel, know and believe that you are truly loved and are enough exactly how and who you are right now today. 

I want you to know and believe this and understand at some point that there is grace enough for you to be you, in your craziness, mess, glory, and uniqueness. I for one will always adore and love you and always will; unconditionally.  




I have been in relationships since I am fifteen years old. Some awesome, sad, weird, awkward, strange; some longer and some shorter. There were a couple of months in between when I was just by myself and I really enjoyed it; however, there was this feeling of wanting to be with someone because it makes me strangely a bit happier than being single or “alone”. I have to admit that I have seen a bunch of BS along the way rather than saying I have seen it all by now which makes me sound and look as if I have had one million relationships. Actually, I have had six solid, long relationships in my life that somehow did not work out.

So, at some point in my life, I was in this relationship. Life was awesome, as it always is in the beginning. Floating on this pink cloud and everything is just fine. Quickly, he and I decided to be “exclusive” and shortly after moving in together since this is clearly the way to get to really know each other. The alarm bells rang loudly and shone very brightly in a deep red like a police car trying to make other drivers aware of a hazard but “let’s just listen to the head, not the gut”, I thought. After all, three months into the relationship I had this feeling I knew this person forever, so why not move in together. This timeline-keeping that I unconsciously did was logged in my brain and allowed me to create some sort of relationship structure.

When other friends/couples told me they did not move in together or they did not take “the next step”, I had the feeling that my relationship was normal. We were normal. Everybody else is just messed up and makes life more complicated than it already is. Who needs all the drama, all the waiting, all the insanity? At the same time, I thought how one person would/could be my one partner since it became somewhat serious at this point. I made legitimate room for another person in my life and in my apartment. Is there a catch?

Is it all too good to be true? Why is it so easy this time? Maybe it is because he is hiding something. Yes, that is it. Or wait, maybe he realizes soon that I am a horrible person to be and live with or if it is too good it means that it all will crash soon. I was also afraid that I have to let go of me, myself and I – the me I have known for so long. The me that I trust more than anybody else. What have I learned from years of dating and being in relationships? Continue reading.

Don’t rush into anything. It all takes time to realize if this person could be someone you want to stick to/hang out with for a while. It is okay to not be 100% into the other person and this does not mean that it is not meant to be. I read on a bumper sticker the other day: “If it is not fun, why do it?”

Am I having fun seeing the other person? Yes. So, that’s that. I learned the difference between a red flag and human flaws. Sort of like, I look in the mirror and say that my hair looks awesome today but I know I am not perfect either and I have to brush my teeth. Does that make sense?

Arguments do not automatically mean something is wrong in a relationship. Disagreements are normal and a learning opportunity. However, when the other person wants to control you and keep you down by making themselves big, pretending they know and can do everything better in a cocky, arrogant way, it is a downer and annoying. Don’t tell me to wipe away my tears and see a shrink or go running but ask why I am crying in the first place. Small words and gestures go a long way. There is a difference between wanting what’s best for me, and knowing what’s best. The intentions may have been pure but that does not mean he knew what is really best for me or what is in my interest.

When things seem to make no sense, they usually don’t. I know people who tell me that they know the laws a certain country applies by simply reading a book or two on that subject. I learned that being in a relationship will most certainly not fix certain problems I struggle with. I do not want my partner to fix anything for me. He can suggest things but do not be all over me. I have experience, I am not a child and I do not need anyone to fix or clean my previous or current life. I do not want a relationship to act as some sort of escape from something else when all I actually need is just a break to breathe.  My flaws are my flaws, my weird stuff is my weird stuff and I am a whole entire person. As life progresses, I realized that romance and idealism start to wither away and good guys don’t always win. I also learned that apparently telling the truth isn’t always the best policy.

The past does not exist anymore and allowing this period of time to cause my pain is counter-productive to this time I have now. I know the future is unsure and cause and effect are things I would and could simplify, but I really cannot. What I can be sure about is my present state, and that this very moment is my opportunity to make the life I want to have. I am a sum of my experiences, including the not-so-proud-moments I have been through. We all make mistakes but are given the opportunity to learn and grow from it. Let’s file it under “experience” but I will pay attention to the people I keep around. I will no longer allow the bullshit that happened to keep me down. It is toxic for me to relive those moments and filing the present tense regret, pain or even depression.

There are struggles and problems in every relationship and there is always a lot involved but the key is to respect the other person since there initially was affection, love, and trust. So now, I send him light and love for his future and then I drop it. 

.Living Philosophy.

This feeling when you sit somewhere and you do not quite know what to do with yourself and then you pick up your phone. You flip through social media a bit and then put it away but just to pick it up a couple of minutes later because there is something else you really need to research right away. Or maybe you are working on a project on your computer and are stuck with something difficult. The minute this used to happened to me, I checked Facebook quickly to see what is going on. Without me even noticing, half an hour just passed by while the cursor patiently blinks on my research page. Out of a sudden, I found myself on Amazon. Maybe it is that gadget on Amazon.ca/com that can make me run faster, write better, measure my heartbeat better or maybe I need this book that I wanted to read for so long.

The only thing that actually gets triggered is an impulsive, unproductive response to discomfort while clicking my way through things I a) don’t really need and b) I would only purchase to buy a better version of myself. Usually, the purchases I made on amazon.com/ca were rather an impulsive twitch than an intentional action. [“I enjoyed one book by the author so let’s get all of them”]

Years ago I had this though and fitness aspiration: Okay, I have to lose some weight. I am going to start running. I knew that just with the right gear it would all be so much more fun and easy and I would be off to the races in no time. I remember how happy I was when the brown box arrived and I slid my finger through the opening to reveal my new heart rate monitor (buy this one and get two books for free, kinda), running pants, running wind jacket, running shirt, running socks and running hair band. How come I also bought a perfume, diving equipment, a flashlight, a knife and a Mont Blanc pen?

Everything was just one single click away and “so cheap”. Dangerously too, I was a PRIME member and enjoyed free shipping. Everything was magically delivered to my front door in just 48 hours.  What I tried to do back then was to become a better version of myself without really putting in the work to get there. I thought that I am “taking action” when all I did was to just take out my credit card. I had been subconsciously convinced that a purchase is an action step and if I want to be a runner, purchasing a heart rate monitor is a step in that direction! The weird thing was that buying this particular heart rate monitor felt good and was exciting because I truly believed that I had taken the first step toward a healthier, better version of myself. I even checked my heart rate at the traffic light because this is what real runners do, right? Also, to impress people who waited next to me. So stupid. The next day it rained and I did not feel like getting my new equipment wet. I did not run. It rained for a week. I never wore that heart monitor again.

Looking back at my spending history from years ago,  I found that I spent a huge amount of money on small, cheap, meaningless purchases that added up just because I thought they would add value to my life. Yet, those purchases did not align at all with the life that I intended to live. A lot of my money went to those unintentional amazon purchases that silently added up while holding me back from other things I wanted to do. Through monitoring my spending habits (mostly on amazon), I wanted to align my actions with  my values and live more intentionally every day. It really all starts with minimizing distractions, building habits and creating new opportunities.

I started to think about my life and how I can minimize distractions and stop spending money on useless stuff.  Focusing on the essential is really difficult with a distracted, cluttered mind or a tight schedule. I started to focus on the things that keep me really busy every day but take me away from things that are actually important and matter. An example would be to clear my workspace or using my phone more intentionally; meaning, not bouncing back and forth between social media apps wasting time while sharing ten million things. I learned that I simply have to slow down and be more intentional about the way that I am using my time and attention so that I can create and do what really matters to me. Next, I wanted to build a foundation of good habits. This was the time when I started to meditate and to reflect what I am grateful for. I also stopped focusing on useless things like buying yoga pants instead of doing yoga; buying a laptop instead of writing that book; buying new running shoes instead of just walking outside or buying a new camera when I don’t even use the one I have at home.

Once I created the space for a meaningful change in my life and implemented habits that matter to me it was time to take it to the next level. This, for example, could mean sharing something that I know or learned. I created my blog from scratch and used it as my creative outlet and passion project, I wrote my book and now I am working on creating an income to live with even more freedom. It is important to start creating things that matter to YOU and to create opportunities to live a greater life overall. And to think before clicking that Amazon “buy now with one click-button”.

.Holistic Nutrition – Things to share.

I have been taking courses at The Institute of Holistic Nutrition for two months now and since some readers asked me to share what this is all about and my experience, I would like to give a little update here on the blog.

When I sometimes mention that I am studying holistic nutrition, people either give me the sad, puzzled look of, “poor thing, you cannot eat anything” or they ask me “what can you eat? Is this a raw food diet or vegan?” Well, none of the above. First, I would like to elaborate on the perfectionism around food and what people associate with eating, being healthy, self-love and self-care. I also want to share how to find that balance between to indulge happily for the sake of mental health while at the same time kind of simultaneously being strict about what you eat for physical health.

Studying nutrition does not make me perfect in the sense of I do not eat perfectly 100% of the time. I certainly do allow myself wiggle room once in a while because I think this is really important. That nutritionists eat perfectly all the time is somewhat a misconception people have. I definitely put an emphasis on eating and appreciating good, healthy whole food but the reality is different. We live in the real world. We go out with friends, we socialize, eat and drink wine and beer. I believe allowing yourself this wiggle room is really important which means this is also some type of “food freedom” that we all enjoy. Getting into a dogmatic way of thinking about it takes the joy out of eating delicious, good food.

I learned recently that peanuts are not the best type of nuts to eat since they tend to mold easily; especially when they come in plastic containers. Even though I know this, I love peanut butter once in a while. My options here are to get the “freshly made” type for example at Whole Foods. You know these peanut butter machines: peanuts in, bring your own container, place it below and press the button. This peanut butter tastes so delicious. I want some now.

I drink wine; I love wine. When I spend time camping or at a cottage I roast marshmallows. We have to stop getting rid of the idea to reach perfection, especially when it comes to food. Nothing is ever perfect. The only thing that happens is that we get discouraged, lost and stressed out about it all. What we can do though is, we can find the perfect balance for us. The goal is to be as happy and healthy as I can be – finding a balance for ME (and my son).

One important thing I learned is that there is no diet that applies to everyone and no food that applies to everyone because everyone is so different. We just have to experiment what foods are good for us and which ones are not. For example, when I am constipated all the time, I cannot sleep at night, I am overweight and I have dark circles I may want to consider the way I eat and live.

A couple of tips that work for me are to listen to my body by eating food as an opportunity to listen to my body. To understand what feels best for me, what I digest the best or things that react strangely in my system. Listening to symptoms you may have and then making the necessary shift in your diet is key. I know that a glass of wine or 3 is worth it tonight but I will most likely end up with a headache the next day. You have to ultimately decide if it is all worth it for you; food freedom, remember?

FYI: Alcohol is a diuretic (meaning, it makes you pee a lot) and B Vitamins are water soluble. When you pee a lot you are depleting your B Vitamins. So, to avoid a headache, drink water before and after sleeping, take a Vitamin B1 complex and drink fresh beet juice the next morning since it flushes the liver via increased bile production. Please be aware of recommended doses and amounts of use. I am not held responsible for any crazy side effects that may occur! Please supplement responsibly. 🙂

One more point I would like to add is that we learn how to make healthy alternative food choices without having the feeling of missing out. For example, my son loves Nutella and I let him eat it of course but he also eats the Nutella-version I make (Recipe will follow soon!). I enjoy simple home-cooked meals and I enjoy the preparation. When I learned one thing so far it is that healthy eating is so easy when I keep it simple. I also learned from my friend to just go the store, buy some items that are healthy and seem to go well together and throw them in the pan. Throw in some salad leaves too while using a simple wrist movement. Just create things without following a recipe all the time. There are just so many trends and recipes out there that distract from the simplest dishes. Overall for me, food should be real, whole and simple without a label or expiration date attached to it.

For more information on the school click here or send me an email if you have any questions.

Stay healthy.

.Who to Trust.

There are so many things I wanted to share recently but I could not find the time to sit down and write it all down. Tonight I simply type along and reflect because there has been a lot that I have overcome, moved and worked through, dealt with or healed from.  Throughout it all, I have learned so much. I have become so much stronger,  wiser and more confident in the choices that I have made and am about to make in knowing that every time I listen to my gut or I do what feels right for me (and my son) I never regretted it.

This blog post is not supposed to be about me since I do not want to elaborate on all the things I dealt with here. This post is supposed to be a message that I would like to throw out there and maybe someone can relate or maybe even be inspired.

I found myself in a position of being in a very unhappy place. I like to think of myself as someone who is very happy; someone who tries to look at the positive and good in things (most of the time) and learn from everything that I go through. I was in a place that was not right for me. I was stuck, lost and I honestly did not know what to do. It took a lot of time, courage and strength to make the decisions I made and to do what is right for me and my son while looking forward and moving on. All that aside though, regardless of what I went through and the situation I was in or all the details that surrounded it: what I truly learned is just how important it is to always listen to my gut. To listen to the part of me that knows what is right. Trust me on that one!

There are probably times when your gut tells you what is right but it just seems impossible to take the jump or the leap or do it since there are so many hurdles. But doing it anyway while pushing through the fear is what I aim for. Even though some things may be so out of this world and difficult and I feel like how am I going to get past this. Or how am I going to overcome this, feel better or move on, there is nothing more rewarding than looking back thinking to myself, “Oh damn, now I am so much happier as a result!”

I do what is right for me (and my son) and I think that in this life doing just that and being completely honest and true to myself opens different doors in so ways. It makes sense because I know from my personal experience that whenever I have been in a situation and it does not feel right, things don’t usually move and flow as effortlessly and smoothly. Almost like every step I take just doesn’t feel right, is more difficult or I feel like I am forcing it.

But whenever I take a path and it feels good and something really makes me happy, things flow. Things feel easy and effortless. I don’t mean to make one decision and your life will be easy and perfect. I mean making little steps in the direction that feels good and right made me happier, not stressed and more content. I am not trying to plague myself with the coulda-woulda-shouldas of life. Of course, I catch myself wishing I made better decisions and choices in certain situations and I wish I could take back things I have done or said to people but regret is a pointless practice. What’s done is done.

I never want anybody to perceive me as perfect or think that I have figured life out.  I am far away from it. I want to live the greatest life I can live. I want to be as healthy as I can be. Listening to my gut is a priority in my life now and I learned the hard way that numbing or tuning this little voice out does not help.

When I finally started to say “no” to things or when I passed off opportunities that don’t serve or make sense to me I sometimes scared myself. Saying “enough of this” or “no” sometimes means getting kicked out of the safety bubble that feels comfortable and somewhat easy. But life is not easy. Taking this step is often not even as scary as we think it is.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it is scary. But when it is all set and done we can look back and say, “it is okay”. It is always okay in the end. This too shall pass. Things always work out in the end. We all have been in a place where we stand at a fork of the road and it is either this way or that way. What do I choose? If you know it is right for you, you know it is the right thing to do. And wonderful things will happen as a result. Whatever that is for you. So I trust my gut since there is nobody else out there more qualified to deal with me than myself.

.With My Son, Immunization and Suspension.

The other day I received a phone call from my son’s school. It was 9.30am; I had just dropped him off and got myself ready to attend class. I missed the phone call actually but while listening to the voicemail I received an email as well: ” Call school immediately” and a phone extension. So I called to find out that my son had been suspended from school since his immunization record is not up to date according to Health Canada who report to the schools on a daily basis apparently.

So, my son has all the vaccinations he needs; he even has more (yellow fever and whatnot and everything else triple). His vaccination record has been submitted to Health Canada and his school when I signed him up initially in February 2017 with dates and everything that was necessary included. I have not received a notification recently to contact Health Canada or update any vaccination records which was weird. After I hung up the phone with Joel’s school I tried to contact Health Canada to explain that he has all his vaccinations and that this must be a mistake since he has his International vaccination booklet up to date. When I initially called, I was caller number 29 placed on hold but I knew I had to “pick up my son immediately”. I decided to pick him up, bring all the sufficient paperwork, talk to the school’s principal and get everything sorted out.

This all did not work out either. I had been told, “Sorry, Mam, there is nothing we can do if Health Canada does not send the report saying that your son has all the immunizations” even though I showed her the  International Vaccination Booklet.

What to do at this point? It was 10 am and my class has started. Damn! I decided to calm down and have a cup of “soy latte” (Ryan) first. Joel tagged along and waited patiently for his cake pop and apple juice asking me, “Mommy, what did I do wrong so you had to pick me up?” Me: “Nothing darling, just eat your cake pop and chill.”

I wiped his mouth that was covered in chocolate, finished my soy latte and we drove to Health Canada to “sort things out”. I paid $4 (for ONE hour!) for parking on a public street in front of the Federal Health Canada building which added to my overall discomfort. I walked up to the building to find the door locked but there was a phone attached next to the entrance. I picked it up and dialed the number on the display to find out that the security guard did not know who to connect me with but “he can take down my name and number and someone will get back to you for sure in a couple of days”. This was the point when I somewhat lost it a tiny bit. I walked down the stairs and screamed while some guy walking by and told me, “Yeah, this is what the system does to you. I have been there, Miss.” At least he did not call me Mam which I hate.

Petit Joel and I drove to my school and he sat nicely and quietly next to me staring at his iPad while I learned about muscles, bones, and tissues. Unfortunately,  not those I desperately needed to blow my nose and wipe away the tears while realizing how little a human being counts. I had been reminded again that common sense is not that common after all and the human factor won’t be taken into consideration most of the time when I told the principal at Joel’s school that I cannot take 5-10 business days off to keep my son out of school and not be able to go to work. She responded: “I am sorry, Mrs. Henry, there is nothing I can do!” (Why not Miss?)  Again, the craziest part is, that I even showed her his immunization booklet with all his immunizations up to date.

The school was closed today (Friday) and will be closed on Monday (Family Day, duh!) as well. I hope I can sort this all out by Monday so he can attend school again on Tuesday. If not, he has to come to school with me which is sort of annoying but manageable since my professors/doctors allow him to be there if he is quiet.

Oh, this little boy I love him so much. Be still my heart. To see him go off to school every morning, watching him go away and play with his friends is bittersweet and awesome at the same time. I usually turn around to look for him one more time after I dropped him off to see what he is up to. Other kids will be sweet, rough, teasing, hurt feelings and are nice. All these emotions. My son is going through a lot every day and he is usually exhausted when I pick him up in the afternoon but I always make sure that he knows that whenever he walks in the door every day, that home is the most comforting place for him to be. And I try to keep him out of and away from these useless stressors like vaccination troubles. Mindfulness allows me to bottle up these special moments and making its magic last longer after the moment has ended but by acknowledging how I feel in the moment. #HealthCanada

.Canadian Winter – The Naked Truth.

I am supposed to study lecture One of my Anatomy and Physiology course for tomorrow but I got distracted by the huge amount of snow I saw looking through my window. And it keeps on snowing. Winter in Canada is no joke. This is my second almost fully experienced winter here in Ottawa; almost because I spent three weeks last year of December/January in Germany. It is not even the snow, ice and insane cold (- 38 Celsius for now) that is distracting. It is more the duration or length of it all. Winter literally starts here by the end of October. It gets cold and uncomfortable first and then the snow comes. And it lasts until March/beginning of April but there was still some snow early in May.  This snow never melts. It stays and more gets added. If it melts in May, everything is flooded and then it snows again shortly after or freezes over.

I love sunshine and warmth. Sun makes me happy and I can almost literally feel how my Vitamin D tank gets filled up while laying in the sun. For some reason, the same pattern appears every year. I am at the playground with my son by the end of September and we are playing. The sun is shining, we are laying in the grass still, I look up and see some red and brown leaves. Suddenly something inside of me turns off and reminds me of who I am, where I am and that I live and exist. The leaves remind me who I am. Is this weird? Colder months are approaching and it is visible now. Yet, Australia is still an option. 😉

Now, for me, winter means staying inside or more being trapped inside and not being able to move around freely. I am not a winter-sport person. I like ice-skating but skiing or snowboarding: no thank you. The thought of being outside in the cold just does not make me happy. Don’t get me wrong,  I do have all the Canadian winter survival outfit. From Ski-mask to goggles to winter pants to put on thousands of layers and of course my Canada Goose Jacket my mom bought for me. It all still sucks and is cold after a while. I spent countless hours outside with other moms and their kids building forts, igloos, and slides but c’mon… all we really wanted to do was to go inside and warm up ( and drink wine or eat chocolate and smoke). But, according to the universe, things like this aren’t up for debate once you have a kid, eh.

Another thing that bothers me about winter is that I feel constantly thirsty and dry. My skin feels itchy and my hair feels frizz or dull. Everything takes forever and it feels like doing anything spontaneously needs a lot of planning. Just getting my kid ready in the morning: wow. To put on his snow-suit takes up ten minutes easily. Getting this kid ready: first major task in the morning.

A friend told me the other day that she loves winter because she feels that there is always a certain kind of safety in the cold. Something that makes you stay indoors and keep to yourself and distracts from this feeling that you need to party. I just looked at her blankly because what does “need to party” feel like? I need a little reminder since I forgot after I had my son. Going out always means to call a babysitter/desperate teen from the neighborhood in need of money. The little things.  But hey, it is so easy to raise a kid some say. Anybody can do it. This is all so much easier than to work in Somalia for example I reckon. It is the daily stuff of being a parent that catches up slowly. Of being a parent. Of being present. Of being off the phone.

Staying in brings comfort yet doing so in the summer incites guilt: one has to go outside and play. Especially here in Canada. Kind of: When the sun is out we are outside because winter is just around the corner. At this point I am just tired of layers of clothing and that the cold seems to separate me from everything. But one good thing about this winter is that I was able to work on my thesis and was somewhat more productive since I  could not do anything else really but work on this project and type along. My thesis analyzed genuine suicide notes and I read a lot of research that suggested that suicide rates increased in the winter months here in Canada since people are generally more depressed; especially up North of Canda where the winter is even worse. The seasonal changes here in Canada are another topic really. There are several emotions that I dealt with last winter. To name a few, there were sadness, laziness, malaise and even loneliness. I do not think that this will be the case or an issue this year since I have support that I have not had before. The help of Intellilink and one special person who gets me Premium Gold if I really want to install it even with red lights blinking and water pouring through the sprinklers and that students do not get grades.

There was a tiny sunset earlier today when the sky just opened up quickly for five minutes or six and it meant my happiness faucet just kept pouring joy realizing how amazing spring and summer will be.