Facing Your Fears Today

if not now then when

Any issues I have, I can deal with now.

No matter where I am, who I am with, what I am doing,

It is not other things, people or places keeping me from achieving them

It is me.

I am the only one limiting myself.

If I can’t deal with issues now,

they will continue to be there always.

Even if I change environments,

they will still be there.

We often tell ourselves

I just need to change the people I hang around with

I need to be alone

Once this or that happens (something in the future normally), then I can change

We believe that changing our environment will allow us to change

But it’s not about changing your environment

(Granted it can help, it can make the transition easier, but it is not necessary)

It’s about changing within

It’s a combination of

Changing your mind

and

Changing your habits, your actions

Some examples:

-Issues I have are with myself

No matter who I am with,

They will continue to be an issue,

It does not disappear,

So changing relationships will not fix things

-I need to be alone to deal with my issues

But they will come back when you are not alone

If you only know how to deal with them alone

You will at some point still have to learn how to deal with them with people around you

(Bring the people back, bring the issues back)

Can learn to be alone, without being alone

-Once I get this, then I can face my issues

(This example triggers the following sayings:)

-There is no moment like the present.

-There is no better time than now.

-Tomorrow may not come.

-Love like you will lose your loves.

-Enjoy the moment like it is your last.

But that last saying does not translate to: YOLO

In the sense:

Let’s drink and do drugs and forget about everything

Because these are simply distractions

(It is important to make sure they are not used to fill a void)

The best moments in life are:

-When you have caught yourself thinking: I am so happy right now

-The moments where you are smiling to yourself,

-The moments where you are taking in everything around you,

And you are at peace, and content, and grateful to be alive

Rare is it that these moments are when you are completely intoxicated

(Granted, some good memories can occur during slight intoxication,

But it is not necessary,

and abuse of it doesn’t leave anyone feeling good)

But more often it is when you are alone and loving yourself

Or surrounded by people you love with laughter and music in the air

Or a moment of silence, lying side by side, with a lover or even a stranger

When there is sun on your face

When there is rain on your skin

These are the moments that invigorate you

These are the moments that you remember.

(We remember our best and worst moments)

Both of which make us stronger

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Peace and Love

So it’s been awhile since my last post.

And today’s post isn’t going to be about farming, or the garden.

The blog was supposed to be about what makes me angry about the world. Its the first question of many to help me pin down exactly which revolution I want to lead, exactly which path I want to go down to help make this world a better place. But alas, my mind and fingers have led me to write about something else completely, in a sense. But I like what I have written. And it represents me, who I am, what I have been thinking for the past hour. And I have come to a point in my life where I want to share that with the world. So I hope you enjoy.

I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to blog regularly. It’s what I had planned to do right? And if I didn’t do what I said I was going to do, people would think that I wasn’t following through on my plans (which is true).

But I felt that people would think negatively of me for this. Because as I have grown up, I have learned to associate good and bad with things. And not following through on your plans has been associated with the bad. But alas, I need to remind myself that good and bad are one in the same. Sometimes, what is bad, can really be good. There is no one way to live your life. And things happen for  reason. If I haven’t been blogging about gardening, there must be a reason for it right. Because I was doing other things with my time. Because I had placed more value on other things.

But really, I don’t know what other people are thinking. Really, people aren’t even thinking of me. Sure, they might have certain thoughts as they come across me, as I enter their sphere from time to time, be it in person, or through the web. But ultimately, their thoughts, like mine, have to do with themselves and their immediate surroundings.

And my guess is that when people are thinking of you from far away, they are thinking positive thoughts. They are missing you, or they are worried about you, but in a caring way. They are sending you love.

And those who are actually sending bad vibes to others…well those are the people whose opinions you needn’t worry about. And really, those are the people who need the most love in those moments. Because to be sending bad vibes to someone, you really need to be in a low place; a place without confidence, a place without love.

I would like to believe that no one is ever really in that place. That those sentences wouldn’t actually resonate with anyone. But I feel like that would be unrealistic of me. And so I would take this time to quickly say, as a reminder, just in case, if in the future, anyone were to find themselves in such a place, that it is ok. To not feel guilty for such thoughts. To not hold on to them. To remember that you are worthy and amazing. That there are people who love you. I love you. I may not know you, but I love you. And to let go of your negative thoughts and push yourself to see things in a positive light.

Words are powerful. Thoughts are powerful. Our minds are powerful.

And our minds can be difficult to train. But it can be done. It just takes practice. Like anything else.

When we are kids, we are used to not being good at things right away. And we have to practice to get good at them. And there are some things we practice more than others. But as we become adults, we tend to keep only those things that we are good at (those things which we have practiced the most). And when we try something new, we compare it to that which we can already do. Things we are already good at. And we expect to be just as good, relatively fast. And when we realize that it’s going to take longer than we thought, we tend to give up. We tell ourselves, it’s not “our” thing, it’s not meant for us. We resort to doing things which come easy. But it’s hard to find fulfillment in life from things that come easy. Fulfillment comes from spending time, and energy, and sweat, and tears and love working towards something you believe in.

I think that’s what many of us look for. Crave for. I try to avoid generalities. I try to avoid laws, and absolute truths (because there will always be a critic, someone who tries to tear down your opinion or your point, and so I guess it’s a self defence mechanism. I admit I do not know all. Please don’t assume I think I do, and use that as a way to ignore the larger message). But really, I don’t think anyone would say “No, I don’t want to be fulfilled”.

We have to remember to be beginners again. We have to remember to be learners. You will not start something and be an expert. It takes years of practice to get there. And maybe your goal is not to be an expert. You may simply want to be better at something.

Remember, even those who are experts, can lose that sense of fulfillment. Because fulfillment comes from working towards something you believe in. It comes from reaching a point you never thought you would hit, or you feared you couldn’t reach, and looking back, and saying “I did it”. “I made it”.

Fulfillment comes from surprising not others, but yourself. Some of the hard work may leave you tired, leave you scared, leave you frustrated. But when you believe in something so much, you push through. Your belief triumphs your doubts. (I just had a good vs evil thought)

And so to feel fulfilled, you must believe in something. And belief is just like faith.

So I think the first step to fulfillment is belief or faith. Belief in yourself to accomplish something that you haven’t yet accomplished.  (Hence the importance of doing new things, or striving for more). Perhaps something that others may not think is possible. But if you think it, you can create it. If you think it, you can do it. You just have to believe that you can.

And you can train your mind to think that you can. You just have to catch yourself every time you find yourself with a negative thought or a doubt. Be mindful of your thoughts. Do not ignore them. But recognize them for what they are. Just thoughts. Just as you can have a negative thought, you can also have an equal and opposite positive thought. In the moments that you feel you can’t, remember that you can.

You can either hop around doing a lot of little things. Feeling fulfilled by this, and then by this, and then by this. Always making small goals, attaining them, and then moving on to the next. Or you can make big goals, and dedicate much time and effort into them. I do believe that what you put in is what you get out. And so the bigger goals that take more time and effort will ultimately bring you more fulfillment.

Those who have left a mark on society are those who dedicated a good portion of their lives to something. Not their whole lives mind you. They were still children at one point. They were still confused teens at some point. They may even have been adults going through a mid life crisis. They were just like you and I. They were not perfect. They had doubts. They may also have had families and friends, and a social life. But at some point, they began to believe in something so much they spent the majority of their time (if not more) working towards it.

I don’t believe they “found” something to believe in. It didn’t fall into their laps. It was not something else that found them. It was their brains, their minds, that changed. Whatever experiences they had gone through, whatever they had learned, they realized the power of their mind. They realized the power of belief. They realized that if you believe in something enough, you can make it a reality. And so they believed they were capable of creating a new reality. The reality they wanted to see. They were the change they wanted to see in the world.

And that is how to make a change, that is how you leave a mark, that is how you look back and feel fulfilled. And yet, we never hit a plateau. We never really stop working towards something. Martin Luther King didn’t stop. Mahatma Ghandi didn’t stop. They didn’t hit a point, and look back and go, I am good. I needn’t do anymore. We have moments in our life where we look back and can take a few seconds or a few minutes to relish in what we have accomplished. To remind ourselves of what we are capable of doing. But we are supposed to take these moments as inspiration to keep moving forward. To keep working.

Fulfillment is not only achieved in a moment, it is achieved by a journey. As they say life is not a destination, it is a journey. You are only living when you are moving. You can be moving forwards or you can be moving backwards. You can be moving side to side. But you must be moving. Working towards something. And when you don’t know what to work towards, take that time to figure out what you want to work towards. It’s not just about keeping your feet moving until something falls into place. It’s about taking that time of confusion to look within, or look out, and figure out what you want to work towards, what you believe in.

We can all train our minds to believe in something. Big things and small things. And I think the small things can change as we move through life, learning, taking in new information. But ultimately, I think the big things we all want to believe in are ultimately the same.

Can you imagine the world we could be living in, if we all worked towards those big things; peace and love. (I’m laughing at myself because I realize how hippie I sound, and this whole blog has just come out, rolled out of me in a sense.)

But if I believe in anything, I do believe that peace and love are the two things that everyone wants, in their heart of hearts. It’s what we all crave for.

It’s easy to doubt. It’s easy to say, no it’s not possible. It’s easy to be the devil’s advocate.

But it can be just as easy to believe. If you choose to.

I can imagine such a world. And imagination is the first step in making something a reality.

I also think I’m not the only one.

peace

Hopes and Dreams

So I started this blog to share my adventures and my knowledge with you.

Today I would like to share my hopes and my dreams with you.

Because I’ve realized (and known for awhile) that I don’t have that much knowledge. I am not an expert in most matters. But I think the thing that has inspired people the most, that has excited people the most, is when I speak to them about my hopes and dreams.

I think that perhaps, the fire they see in my eyes, is inspiring. And it inspires people, not to live the life I want to lead, but to live the life they want to lead. Passion is contagious.

When you see someone so passionate about something, it inspires you to the find the same passion in yourself.

And so today, that is what I am going to do.

Ever since I left university, and finally felt free to do whatever it was I wanted to do, my life motto has been “who knows?”. Who knows what will become of my future. There are an infinite amount of possibilities. And that is extremely exciting.

Who I am today, and who I am tomorrow are two different people. How am I to know that what I want today is the same thing I will want 10, 20 or 100 days from now.

There are many things in life that are out of our control, and you never know what life is going to throw at you.

So, as much as it is in our nature to want to be able to predict the future, we ultimately cannot.

(However, I do believe in creating your reality, and believing in something so much that you make it happen)

Nothing is permanent in life. Something is always changing. No one and nothing belongs to you.

I’ve come to the point in my life where I am aware, that I know nothing for certain, I simply choose to believe.

And even at that, I don’t attach myself to any ideas or thoughts of the future. Because you never know what is going to happen. You might want to, in order to make yourself feel secure, or safe, but life is about being able to go with the flow. It’s about choosing to see the positive side of the coin (being aware of the negative) but choosing to focus on the positive (because why the hell not).

Anywho, I’m getting off topic.

After university, I travelled to South Korea, because I wanted to travel, and experiment with teaching.

I loved teaching, but didn’t love South Korea. So I decided not to spend any  more time in a place that I knew I didn’t want to be in, and took off travelling.

At first, I thought I would fly straight to Malaysia and start organic farming, which was something I also wanted to experiment with. However, I was so close to Japan and the Great Wall of China, that I told myself “take advantage of it while you can, because you might never get this opportunity again”.

And the more I live life, the more often I am grateful for the times that I told myself, “take advantage of the opportunity you are being given now”. Hop on it. Either you will be thankful you did, or you will learn an important lesson. It’s a win-win scenario.

When I got back from travelling, I went back to the Keg because I was in debt, and it was the easy thing to do. But I am so thankful that I decided to go work on a farm the following summer. (I love the Keg, but “been there, done that”).

I very much believe in the slogan “it’s better to regret having done something, than to regret not having done anything at all”.

Again, farming was something that I figured I would try. Either I was going to like it, or I wouldn’t. If I didn’t, well then it wasn’t a mistake, it was a learning experience. If I didn’t like it, at least I could say I tried it, and now it is off the list. But you have to try things in life to figure out what you like doing. And I really do believe that most of life is about trying things and figuring out what you don’t like doing until you are left with what you do like doing.

But I really do feel like I struck gold somehow. I had been listening to my heart for awhile at that point, and it finally brought me to the place that I wanted to be. In that moment that is. I feel like I’ve stumbled along a path, and that path is currently bringing me through organic gardening, farming, homesteading. But the path is endless, and perhaps this forest will last forever, but I may also come to a clearing at some point, or a river, or a volcano, or who the hell knows.

But once you’ve started listening to your heart, it’s extremely hard to not listen to it. And it will lead you wherever it wants to go. (Of course these are all metaphors, God knows what I am even saying).

Okay, off track (a bit) again.

I got back from farming, and told myself that my one goal for the next year was to learn how to be self-sufficient. To learn how to grow food on my own. To be able to feed my family and friends.

And that is what I am doing. Granted, not as well as I would have liked. I had over the winter, put more focus into my job and paying rent than really doing what I had wanted to do. “As is life” many of us would say.

But I have now decided to follow my heart once again.

I still want to do my garden. And I do not want to do it half assed. (Screw multitasking which gets you nowhere quick, instead of doing one job extremely well in 5 days, you do 10 jobs 10% well.) I want to do it well. And I will see where that takes me.

Perhaps I will do a great job and the nuns in the Monastery will ask me to use their land next year to grow on a bigger scale.

Perhaps I will gain the confidence to work on a bigger scale and use land in Oka that a friend of the family has.

Perhaps friends of mine will buy a piece of land and I will live on it and start a successful business that we can split 50/50.

Perhaps I will not get into commercial farming at all (or at least not yet) and instead I will choose to live off grid, in a sustainable, self-sufficient community.

Perhaps I will go to construction school around the corner for cheap and learn how to build my own home, and learn on the side how to do so with recycled materials and alternative energy sources.

Who knows what will happen!

All I know right now, is that I want to work on my garden. And I believe that if I do that, and listen to my heart, then only good things will come. And really, that’s not what makes me feel good. I don’t rely on good things “coming” to me. Instead, I focus on what makes me happy. And doing what makes me happy. I do believe that if I do that, then good things will come (because that is what I choose to believe). But my focus is not on the ends, it is on the means. Because you never know what is going to happen.

But if life is a summation of the present, then as long as you make sure you are happy in the present, you are bound to have a wonderful life. So that is what I plan to do.

And a wonderful life is what I wish for all. Whatever that life is. All I can say is follow your heart, it won’t let you down.

follow your heart

So I need to add on to this post.

I forgot to mention my present, most grandiose dream.

It’s an expansion of the “off-grid, sustainable, self-sufficient community” dream.

I would love to work outside every day. I would love to grow my own food. I would love to have mobile greenhouses set up for tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, sweet potatoes. I would love to have a super greenhouse for avocado trees, lemons, grapefruits, figs, and even banana trees. I would love to have apple trees and other native fruit bearing trees. From which we could make apple juice, apple cider and apple cider vinegar. I would love to have maple trees from which we could harvest sap. I would love to have bees, to help rebuild their community and ensure they do not go extinct.

All of this of course is a lot for one person. And that is why a community is so important. Everyone has their specialty, something they are better at than others. And so everyone would have their specialty, and we could share amongst ourselves, but we could also come together to help each other with our daily tasks when need be.

I also love the idea of having camps or educational programs, where kids could learn about food and take part in producing it. Not only would it be great to have young kids taking part in all of this, but I also think it would be good for kids in Juvy or having difficulties in life. Learning how to grow your own food is extremely empowering, and can build your confidence like crazy. It also makes you feel like you are doing something very productive, very important. It would also be good for sick people or elderly people. Basically, being outside, getting dirty and breathing fresh air is good for everyone’s mental and physical health.

Everyone would be welcome. And those who really enjoy the life style would be welcome to stay, given that they contribute in some way. Because it doesn’t matter how young, or old, or educated you are. Everyone has something to contribute.

So that is my “big” dream at the moment. Really, I believe it’s not that big and it’s more than attainable.

I’ve begun listening to my heart again in the past few months, and when you do, things just seem to fall in place.

I am very excited about my future at this moment. And that is a wonderful feeling.

Granted if we were always excited, we wouldn’t know we were excited. So we can’t get down on ourselves when we feel like we are missing that excitement in our life.

But it is in those times that it is important to sit down with ourselves and tune in to how we are feeling and listen to what our heart is really saying. Which means letting go of all your thoughts about what you are “supposed” to do, or what other  people think you of you or what you should be doing. A lot of things in this life are bigger than us, and you need to stop holding on to what you think you want, and just go with the flow.

(Did I mention I also hope to get my hunting license. I figure if I can’t kill it, I shouldn’t eat it. But if I can, then I can also provide myself and my family with meat for the year. It would have to be rationed out of course and I think we would therefore be much more appreciative when we ate it.)

Happy Anniversary!

I realized about two weeks ago, that this time last year, I had made my way to Luxy Farm.

And that means that this site is now over 1 year old.

I began this blog to recount my adventures on Luxy Farm. I had also hoped to continue this blog past the farm, as I continued to learn about gardening, nutrition and the environment. I wanted to share what I knew with others and perhaps demonstrate how easy it can be to grow your own food.

I’m pretty happy to say that I’ve kept it up. But really, I’m happy to say that I still enjoy doing it. And that I am happy to see other people enjoying it as well. (Now that I’ve learned about tags, my blogs are accessible to anyone and everyone, not just friends and family).

I do this because I enjoy it. And I take great pride and joy in knowing that others are learning with me, and that I have inspired some people in the process. Nothing beats that.

I must admit, I did not realize what a great impact such an experience was going to have on me, or how it was going to shape my life. I went to the farm as an experiment; to see if it was something I was actually really interested in. Looking back on it now, I realize how much it has shaped who I am and who I want to be.

I’ve spent most of my life not really knowing what I want to do. When I was younger, it was something that stressed me. As I got older, I realized that it wasn’t worth stressing over, that most of us don’t really know what we want to do. And more importantly, life is about change and experiences. And so I floated around for a bit, letting the wind take me wherever it felt like going.

I knew that I could succeed at whatever it was I decided to do. I could have become a doctor, a mathematician, an engineer, a physical therapist… There were so many things that I knew I could do. But as happy as I was to float around, I think I was always waiting to find something that I really wanted to do, that I could be passionate about and believe in with all my heart.

That’s why I had hoped to work for an NGO for quite some time and help those less fortunate than I. Part of me has always wanted to help alleviate hunger in the world. The idea of children in third world countries dying because they lack access to clean water or proper nutrition, when we clearly have more than enough to go around just kills me.

So I thought maybe I would be a doctor, for Doctors Without Borders. Or I could be a teacher. Or I could be a logistics person in charge of a team. I just wanted to do something, anything, that would allow me to help out in some way. For awhile I was focused on the end and not so much the means.

But eventually, as I have said before, I began to realize that perhaps the best way for me to help out, was not to travel to other places and preach, or attempt to show people how to survive, but instead to learn to survive on my own, and remove myself (in part) from the society that has created such huge injustices in the world.

I say “in part” because I’ve realized that although it would almost be easier to simply remove myself from society completely, as it can be difficult to live in this society but not participate in, doing so wouldn’t do much good. It wouldn’t really have an effect on anyone but me. It’s easy to critic the system and abstain from it. It’s much harder to learn to know yourself, believe in yourself and thus have the confidence to stand your ground and help make the world around you a better place.

And seeing as I have always enjoyed a challenge, I’ve opted for the more difficult path.

I went to Luxy Farm with an idea about what I wanted to do. I left Luxy Farm knowing what I wanted to do. And what I’ve experienced and learnt since then has only made me more sure of where I am going.

And that is how I will end this blog. My next blog will be a takeoff of this one.

I started this blog wanting to speak about some other things, but I am happy with how it has turned out. And so for now, that is where I would like to leave it.

Once again, I would like to thank the Luxy crew for such an amazing experience. And as always, I thank my friends and family who have supported me, and everyone who reads my blogs and is learning with me. You all mean the world to me.

.

dont worry be happy

So in my last semester at McGill, in my environmental thought course, I wrote a final essay on the social construction of the environmental field. here I was, a student in environment, very much a believer of environmental problems, and an environmentalist at heart myself, but here I was debating, putting forth the idea, that the environmental field is a social construction itself, even if backed by science, because even science, though it is often times set apart, put on a higher pedestal and considered “fact”, even science is a social construction. it is constructed.

and I’m telling you all this because, I think for awhile I forgot about the social construction of the world, and have recently remembered.

I think I should start and point out at the beginning, that yes, even the idea of social constructions is a social construction in itself. and as usual, you can agree, disagree, with whatever you wish.

but I’ve decided to write this blog not to please myself, or validate myself, but because I believe that perhaps some, hopefully many people could and will benefit from this in some way. that hopefully this blog will help ease your worries, remind you not to take life or yourself so seriously.

i recently went through a period where i was doubting myself a lot. doubting whether I was “really” happy, if I was just fooling myself. doubting what I was doing, who I was, where I was going. doubt and worry, they really suck.

but I finally  realized that all of these doubts and worries are learned. they are not necessarily my thoughts, but thoughts I’ve learned to have from society

as children, we are worry free (not necessarily because we have less “responsibilities) but because we have not  learned to have so many doubts and worries yet. we are in awe because everything for quite a while is new to us. we don’t worry or think about whether we are “really” happy. we just were. we were existing in a world, and we weren’t wondering “why are we here” “who are we” what is my purpose? does this make me happy? is this my path?

there has been a shift of late. people are realizing that money can’t buy happiness, and there has been a shift to “find happiness” or to “be happy”. happiness is the new goal. perhaps it always was, but the way to get there has changed.

as I said before we were existing. there’s so much emphasis now on “living” your life and not just surviving it. and I do agree with these statements, but then it seems you need to associate a question to this statement (as we are always trying to define things) you also must ask the question well what is “living” and as usual people will give you lots of different answers.

you will always find answers to the questions you ask (it may take years, but normally you will find them). but the questions you ask define the answers that you will find. the questions you ask will shape your reality. if you ask “is there a god” well then you will most likely find some sort of god. if you ask “what is my path” well then you will eventually feel that you have found your path. if you ask ” who am I” one day you will feel as if you have finally figured out who you are.

but why do we need to ask questions. why can’t we just be in awe. from the moment we ask a question, we have a tendency to start dissecting the world around us. trying to “understand” and make sense of it.

and what I have realized,

is that: the minute you ask these questions ” who am I” you are also telling yourself that at that moment, you don’t know who you are. of if you ask ” what is my path” you are telling yourself that you don’t know what your path is.

the power of suggestion. and the power of the mind. we are what we think. if you think you aren’t happy, you won’t be. if you think you are happy you will be.

we have too many thoughts. thoughts tend to be flooded by worries, fears and doubts. when you really are enjoying yourself, or when you are really in the moment, you may still be thinking, but you are not holding on to those thoughts, they come and they go. and so you do not perceive them, when you are in mediation, the goal is to become aware of your thoughts, become aware so that you can let them go, so that you can truly be in the moment.

and i very much believe in all this. but at the same time, I no longer believe that these are things that we need to feel we must have. we are no less of a person, we are no less alive if we do not achieve these moments. you are alive no matter what you are doing! too many of us now feel the “need” to be alive, to be happy, to find enlightenment. we have simply replaced one goal with another. when you set yourself a goal, that automatically translates to, i have not met my goal. and this can leave you feeling like you are missing something, leave you feeling unsatisfied, unfulfilled.

recently I was very much feeling like I was missing something. like there was  whole. people, places and things come into our lives all the time. some for short periods, some for long periods, some forever. but if and when these things leave, we compare our present situations to our past and feel that we are now missing something. however, most things in our lives were not there to begin with.

I think it is important to remember that you aren’t missing anything. you do not need anything. you have everything. you always have, and you always will! don’t ask “am I happy”, instead remind yourself that you always have been and you always will be (not literally of course but you know what I mean)

it is only when you try to make sense of the world, when we start taking ourselves too seriously and asking for our purpose or our path that we bring self doubt into our lives. (and really, we are all human, it’s hard not to do this) but I think it is important to remind ourselves not to take ourselves so seriously. no matter our beliefs,

even the idea that we need something to believe in is a social construction (it does not exist in and of itself, it is not absolute truth). if you don’t believe in something, no stress, no worries that is completely okay. if you do have something to believe in that is okay too! there is no right or wrong way to live your life. you do not always need to be happy. happiness is a social construction itself, and so it is not the “ultimate” all encompassing god either. sometimes we are happy, sometimes we aren’t.

I really think the best thing to do is remember not to worry so much. I’m not saying don’t worry at all (wagging my finger at you) because you know what, we all will worry. and when we worry, we shouldn’t feel any less because of it, we shouldn’t feel like we haven’t accomplished something. its okay to worry.

so many people try to lay out a guideline to life, well guess what, there is no f**ing guideline.

(or maybe there is, the idea that there is no guideline is also a social construction)

so stop worrying about it so much, and stop doubting that you don’t know what it is.

we are insignificant. be in awe of the world. don’t try to understand it, define it, construct it. take in more, and think less.

we are our own worst enemy, more specifically our thoughts are our own worst enemy.

dream. be excited. laugh and love. (and dance, that helps too). play outside. be a kid again.

as we grow up we learn so much, but I think you get to a certain age, where you need to look back on everything and decide what is really important to you. and then comes the most difficult part. unlearning the behaviours.

as kids, we are sponges, we pick up everything. we start out carefree and then begin to learn the troubles, doubts, fears and worries of the world. (but all these doubts and fears etc etc, the good and the bad in fact) are social constructions. they do not exist in and of themselves. so let them go! do not hold on to your past, do not hold on to your thoughts

Anywho, i am rambling a lot. And really, everything that I have just said is no more true than anything else you have ever come across in your life. I am no less right or wrong than anyone else. And really I did not write this blog to convince you of anything, to tell you to believe one thing over another. Instead I wrote this blog to remind you to relax! smile! and laugh at yourself. don’t worry be happy (as the song goes). do not doubt yourself,

you right now, all that you are, you are awesome. you have everything you need. you always have and you always will.

So cheers to you!

and cheers to life! whatever that is!

Happy New Year!

So I had decided awhile ago that I needed to get back into working out. I began assisting classes at FitClub24 and even attended a free workout class in my friends condo building that was kickass (and therefore I will continue to attend those classes). But not only did I make the decision to work out, I made the decision to work out at a gym that offers free workout classes.

I had been jogging a lot when I first got back to Montreal, but I lack the proper attire to continue jogging in -20 degree weather. And I had been doing something of a workout at home, but refrain from an intense workout because a) I don’t want to be stomping on my neighbour’s heads and b) I find it difficult to push myself when working out alone. FitClub24 has been amazing, but would be too expensive to continue doing on a regular basis.

And so, I told myself that after Christmas I would join a gym. Not long after that I also made the decision to take a break from drinking during the month of January. I figured, if I am going to try to get myself back into shape, then I should also nourish myself well. And I’m sorry, but as much as we all like to tell ourselves that a glass of wine a day is good for our health, I’m sure my body will not be upset with my decision to not drink for a month. In fact, i’m sure it will say “Thank You”.

Now, I’ve never done a detox before or intentionally refrained from doing or eating something in order to improve my health. Many of my friends have, in the past, decided to refrain from drinking alcohol for a certain period of time (some successfully, others not so much) but it was never something that I felt compelled to do. As much as I don’t believe that moderate alcohol intake brings benefits to your body, neither do I think that it is extremely detrimental. The association between moderate alcohol intake and improved health most likely has to do with the fact that those people who consume moderate-low levels of alcohol, simply lead a more balanced lifestyle and are less stressed. Life is about balance; not too much and not too little.

Sometimes I drink a glass of wine every night, other times I go weeks without drinking, other times I might not drink during the week, but perhaps drink too much on the weekend. What I’m trying to say is that I’ve never drank so frequently and so much, to make me feel like I absolutely needed a break or a detox. However, my body hasn’t been feeling top notch lately, for a multitude of reasons I’m sure, and so I’ve decided to give my liver a break of one month and see what it does for me.

But I haven’t decided to take a break from drinking simply for the health benefits. I’ve also decided to take a break from drinking for the mental benefits as well. I feel that drinking is a crutch for many people, myself included.

Too often, we drink, not because our bodies are craving an alcoholic beverage, but because our minds crave it. Too often we drink (even when we don’t really feel like drinking) because everyone else around us is drinking. Too often we hold a drink or take a sip because we feel uncomfortable, or awkward. Too often we drink to be more comfortable with ourselves in a social setting or use our glass as a safety blanket. Too often we drink to make ourselves feel better emotionally (not physically).

Drinking is such a huge part of our culture, and not drinking simply for the sake of not drinking is often met with skepticism and suspicion. I believe this is partly because, we all know deep down that drinking alcohol isn’t the best thing for us. But it is a habit that many of us have. And habits are hard to break.

Human behaviour is one of the most difficult things to change, it requires a lot of willpower. And so, when we meet people who do not drink, be it for health reasons, or simply the sake of not drinking, we are taken aback, because drinking is considered the norm. But not only are we taken aback, we also tend to scrutinize and question their reasons for not drinking, as if they need a reason to not drink.

I believe this is because many people feel threatened by those who do not drink (and/or practice other healthy habits that are not the norm). And we feel threatened because their reasons often make sense, as much as we may attempt to poke holes in them. But if we were to agree with them, then we would have to stop drinking also, and we don’t believe that we have the ability to do that, or we simply don’t want to change our habits.

I definitely feel that I have been faced with quite a bit of skepticism, and suspicion in the past couple of years simply because I have begun to change my habits and have done things that are out of the norm, or that seem scary to some people.

Moving to Korea to teach, travelling to Asia alone, leaving the Keg to go work on a farm, reducing the amount of dairy and meat in my diet. As much as there were many people who were supportive of these decisions, there were also many people who questioned these decisions. There were times where I almost felt like I was being attacked for the decisions I was making. People were curious to know why, but when I would begin to explain why, they would automatically become defensive and go on the attack, trying to tell me why I shouldn’t be doing what I was doing.

I am not going to preach to anyone about how they should live their life, but sometimes people don’t want to understand your choices or decisions because then it would mean changing their behaviour as well, and too many people do not want to change.

We all know change is part of life. And we all agree that change is good. But change is difficult. And even though change is natural, many of us choose not to change, and instead keep doing the same thing over and over and over, because it is comfortable. Change is not easy, and it means going out of our comfort zone. Something not many of us are willing to do.

Sorry, I just realized I’ve gone off on a bit of a rant, but it’s something I’ve been meaning to write about anyway, and so there it is.

So to wrap this long blog up: I have decided to not drink for at least a month for a multitude of reasons. But if I had to choose the two most important reasons, I would choose the following:

1) To treat my body as a temple, and not feed it poison. Correction. Poison is definitely an extreme word to be using. So let’s just say I’m choosing to feed my body well.

2) To have deeper connections with people. To be focused on my conversations, and not on the glass in my hand.

I have decided to give up, or let go of quite a few other things as well in the New Year, but it’s late, I’m tired, and I think by now you are also tired of reading this blog.

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Years Eve, a wonderful New Years Day and I hope that you take every day this year as a new day and a new opportunity to make yourself into the person that you want to be.

Cheers!

happy new year

Merry Christmas!

I am writing this as I sit downstairs on the couch (my bed for the night) in my awesome flannel PJs that my best friend got me (Thank you Tina). Surrounded by blow up beds which my cousins will be sleeping on. My aunt, uncle and cousins are upstairs playing Yuker (an awesome card game). I’ve got the gusto channel on in the background and it’s making me hungry. (I’m not actually hungry though, as usual, I had more than one plate at Christmas.)

I wanted to write a “Merry Christmas” blog. And hopefully I will (it’s taken me about 10 minutes already just to write this because the food channel is distracting me).

It’ll be short though, the food and the drinks have me ready for bed.

I mostly just want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. I hope that you have all enjoyed the past 2 days. It’s been rainy and hot, which isn’t really the white Christmas we often hope for, but there is still some snow on the ground, and I must say I have enjoyed walking my dogs in the past two days without having to wear a tuque.

I also hope that you have been able to spend it with friends and family, be they great in number or small.

I must admit, this has been a bit of a hard Christmas for me. There have been many laughs and smiles, but there have also been some moments where I just needed to be alone and be sad. In those moments, I was sad but mad at myself at the same time. Mad and guilty because I felt like I should be happy. Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, a time to be merry. And I know that I am lucky to have such a wonderful family to celebrate with, and therefore I felt that I had no reason to be sad.

But I realize now, that I needn’t be so hard on myself. I am extremely thankful for all that I have. But it’s ok to be sad sometimes too, especially when you need to be sad. It sucked to be sad at Christmas of course, but it wasn’t all of Christmas, just certain moments. I think I am realizing for the first time how it is good for the soul to experience all emotions. I’ve always been so happy. And so as much as it sucks to feel sad, it almost feels good in a sense to let it take over you, and to let it penetrate you. To feel it completely and to recognize it for what it is. Only once you do this, can you grow stronger.

I do not mean for this to be a sad blog, on the contrary, I hope it is an inspiring blog. Life is meant to be lived fully. And you cannot live life fully without embracing everything and every feeling life has to offer. It is easy to hide, and easy to stay away from that which scares us. We let our fears dictate our lives too often. Instead, we need to simply take the jump, hop on the rollercoaster and enjoy every part of the ride. Embrace all moments, good and bad, and be thankful for the opportunity to do so.

So that is my Christmas rant.

To end, I think I’d like to quote the book I am currently reading (Tuesdays with Morrie). It goes as follows:

“If you don’t have the support and love and care and concern that you get from a family, you don’t have much at all.”

My family and friends have been nothing but supportive, caring, loving and concerned for me throughout my whole life, and especially in these past few months.

And so I feel like I do have it all, and I am so thankful that I can say that. So I would like to thank you all.

And I wish everyone the best for the New Year.

Dream big and chase your dreams, no matter how impossible they seem.

merry xmas pic

Making Time for What Makes you Smile

Okay!

Here I am. Back in action. I’ve been meaning to blog for ages now it seems.

Since leaving the farm I’ve been pretty busy. However, I feel like that is no excuse for me to have stopped blogging.

I began blogging to keep my friends and family informed and up to date on my whereabouts, experiences and thoughts. However, I realize I would like to keep blogging because it is important to me. Blogging allows me to improve my communication skills, organize my ideas and share them with not only my friends and family, but possibly the world. And so although I have been busy, I still need to make time for myself, and make time for blogging, because it makes me happy.

What am I going to blog about today? I’m not really sure. Like I said, I have been meaning to blog for ages. I have tons of thoughts and ideas that I would like to share.

I am very much enjoying the snow right now, and am looking forward to cooking and baking lots of Christmas goodies. Including homemade dinner rolls and cranberry sauce. Lots of healthy desserts with little or no sugar, such as peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, brownies, fudge, gingerbread cookies and anything else I can think of. I think I will make them first and see how they turn out before I share the recipes with you though. So that is to come. Please hold me accountable.

I think what my blog may be about today, is remembering to make time for yourself and doing what makes you happy.

When I left the farm, my plan was to come back to Montreal to live a “normal” life for a bit. Not because I necessarily wanted to live a “normal” life but more so because I felt it wouldn’t hurt while I attempted to save up money.

My main goal was (and still is) to save money so that I can eventually buy a little piece of land (here or elsewhere) on which I can live. I would love to be able to make money on my own through my own business, but at the moment, I am still in the process of discovering what that business will be (gardening, nutrition, fitness, etc). And so I knew that in the meantime I would have to find a job. And as much as I would like to save up money sooner rather than later, I also know it is important to enjoy the moment. Therefore I was willing to make less in order to continue working in a positive and meaningful environment that I could be proud of.

Thus my job at Ecollegey came about. And am I ever happy to be working there! It’s a great little store, filled with healthy and delicious food that I can bring home with me at the end of my shift. I also work with a great group of people who I am learning from everyday. Plus I am always on my feet, travelling up and down the stairs from the storage basement to the store, and there is always something to do (I absolutely despise working jobs that leave you twiddling your fingers and having to look for work to keep busy).

As it is a small business there’s always a lot to be done, all the time. I feel like I could just sleep there sometimes. It’s hard to leave because there is always something else to do. Never mind, that when I do things, I tend to give all of myself, and I give 100%. So I’ve been working 40+ hr weeks, and thinking and dreaming of work even when I’m at home, whether I want to be or not.

Consequently, as you can maybe guess, I began to burn out. You all know I’m a pretty happy person, so when I went through 2 consecutive weeks of being low, tired and irritable I finally put the brakes on and went ” Hey! What is going on with me?!”. I’m not used to feeling low, or bummed and I don’t like it at all. And so I wanted to figure out what was wrong. I knew I was working a lot, but I’ve always had a lot of energy, and so I didn’t understand why I was feeling so run down, mentally and physically.

My number one problem, and I’ve known this for awhile, was that I was no longer working out. Yes I had worked hard on a farm all summer, and yes my job at Ecollegey is very active, but I hadn’t been doing any cardio or intensive interval training on a regular basis for many many months. Originally, I did not want to sign up to a gym, because I believe that you can get just as good of a workout at home without having to put out any money. However, working out alone does test your determination. I thought I’d be able to work out on my own at home, but living on the 3rd floor, I feel limited in what I can do as I do not want to be stomping on my neighbour’s heads. Furthermore, having always played team sports, I simply work out better in a group than I do on my own; I push myself a lot more when surrounded by other people. So although I did not want to have to pay for a gym membership originally, I have decided that it is worth the money if it is going to make me happy.

I went to my first class 2 weeks ago, and within the first 10 minutes I was telling myself “this is what you have been missing! this is what you need!”. I felt better mentally, and when you feel good mentally you automatically feel better physically. And so I will be joining Energie Cardio in the New Year where I can attend to as many free classes as I want, and also use the gym for weight training and cardio. In the meantime, I have been assisting classes at FitClub24, where you pay 8$ to get not only an awesome workout, but also a pre-workout tea and a post work-out protein shake (both of which are delicious). I would continue going there because it is a great environment, it’s got a real family-feel to it, but it’s not close to my work or my home, and it would cost me a fortune to be working out 3-5 times a week.

And my number two problem, I have come to realize, is that I have been way too invested at work. Originally, I had just wanted something that would pay the bills, a job that I didn’t have to bring home with me. But with the store being a small business, and I being someone who gives a lot of themselves, it was practically impossible for me to not become fully invested. But this meant that I was mentally tired at the end of the day, not so much because I was giving a lot of myself, but because I am so hard on myself and beat myself up for every little mistake (and I really am learning by making mistakes at this job). Plus I’m working a lot of hours, and it’s hard to pry myself away from work. Therefore, I haven’t been taking the time to do what I wanted to do, which is research gardening, nutrition and fitness in my free time. These three things I hope to learn a lot on so that I can eventually help people start their own gardens, or create meal plans for people, or prepare healthy meals for people, or help people work out. These are the things I want to do with my future but I haven’t been taking the time to work towards these goals.

When I made this realization I immediately felt better. I’ve been go-go-go since I got back to Montreal and I’ve sort of had my head in the sand. Now that I’ve reminded myself of my future goals and have decided (again) to take the time to reach them, I feel much calmer. Which is a wonderful feeling.

As much as I am mad at myself for losing sight of what I really want, and not taking the time to be happy, I am also quite happy that I didn’t spend too much time astray. As I get older, I think I am getting better and better at listening to my gut and not putting up with what I don’t like. I’m also getting better at realizing and knowing what I like and what I don’t like. And when you don’t like something, you need to move on. Never settle, keep searching. Some of us find what we are looking for, and some of us don’t. But the joy is in the journey, not the destination.

So I hope this blog has reminded everyone how important it is to make time for the things that make you happy.

I hope you never give up what makes you smile, and never give up on your dreams.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas! (in case I don’t blog until after the holidays)

Feliz Navidad!

happy