Waking Up In Canada

Time Out Just To See

Hello, walker February 10, 2013

Filed under: life,Run — wakingupincanada @ 10:14 am
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A lady sits across the cafe, and her long sleeved cotton t-shirt reads, “Running is Cheaper Than Therapy”. I smile, longingly. I agree; the roads and paths and trails and beaches that I have run on are strewn with my issues, worries and concerns and I picked up instead humour and perspective and peace.My hip is sore and it has been 2 weeks and 3 days since my last run and I miss him, my run. I miss my out of breath-ness and my rhythm, my focus and my time out. I miss him, my therapy called Runner.

I walk now. I need to do something, it doesn’t hurt (much), and it gets me moving. I am trying the slower pace of life. I have to work harder to stay focused or I lose speed and then I am just dandering around the countryside. I only like dandering around the countryside when I’ve planned to, and I don’t plan to. Not as an intention, I am not sitting here thinking, I will never dander around. Simply, it is something I don’t make plans to do. Perhaps it would be nice to.

In my 4 walks, I have managed to knock almost one minute of my mile, quite an achievement but not really, it’s more about oiling the wheels and remembering to push it, and now a runner with her blue headband comes in, purchases a coffee, or a green tea to go, and leaves.

I am sure there is a lesson in this. “Life is not meant to be run through” perhaps, or “slow down and savour the journey”. Perhaps it is simply, “Do not run 8 miles on a Saturday when you have barely done 8 miles in the past 2 weeks”. That, though, isn’t likely to make it on wall hangings or fridge magnets, but it should: more practical. Maybe it is, “Even when you can’t do it all, do some”

So I am a walker now. It is more empowering that injured runner. He is not quite the therapist my runner was, but maybe we will become friends.


Breathe February 9, 2013

Filed under: life — wakingupincanada @ 10:11 am
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Sometimes it is enough, just to breathe.

Sometimes, the day is long and your head is full and your mind is racing, and it is just enough to take a few deep breaths.

Sometimes, the world seems too big, and you too small, and so you just breathe to keep going.

Sometimes, the world seems so big and you so small, and you breathe, just to take it all in.

When those around us need more than we think we have, we breathe to relax, to remember love, to re-energise.

When we fall short of our own expectations, in the midst of our own disappointment at ourselves, we breathe, and realise, we can.

In the midst of chaos and collapse, we breathe to survive.

In the pause of the waiting moment, we breathe to use the time.

In the moment of utter happiness, we breathe to drink it all in.

When alone and lonely, we breathe to remind ourselves, we are.

In the midst of being lost, I breathe and remember I am here.


Sometimes it is enough just to breathe. Sometimes, it is our everything.




April 2, 2012

Filed under: Inspiration,life — wakingupincanada @ 12:49 pm
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After a beautiful breakfast at Bruno’s, my friend left for work and I sat back to savour the last of my morning coffee. In the corner, a tv played golf with no volume. I don’t follow golf and my knowledge on it is purely what I have gleaned from polite conversational questions when sitting with those who have a strange passion for the slow walk around a beautiful park while hitting a ball in front of them.

Despite my limited knowledge, it seemed like a countdown of sorts; golf’s near misses or strange incidents. In one, a golfer putted the ball up a small steep slope just off the green, only to have it narrowly miss the summit and roll back down to him. In another, a fantastic shot brought the ball just to the tip of ground above the hole, and no further would it drop.

Why is it the closer we get to getting it perfect, the more painful it is to miss at the final second, final inch, final putt?

Nobody clapped these men on the back for almost making a hole in one, for almost putting a difficult shot, for almost winning it all. Obviously when they have their shots screened on television, they are not simply Sunday morning golfers but tops in their game.

When I went golfing, or rather to play pitch and putt, which I may add I hated, I danced up and down when a) I hit the ball b) it went in the direction of the hole and c) when it ended. Barr c), which may be considered unsportsman-like, the other 2 seem to me like perfectly legitimate reasons to celebrate. These were successes in my world of golf.

When you look at it, the bigger the stakes, the more damning it is to fail.  The better you are, the less forgivable it is for you to mess up. It makes me wonder, why do we even try?

How often when we really work at something, a great meal, a 5km run, yoga 4 times a week, bigger sales, we play down the effort and motivation behind it. We make out we aren’t really trying: “It’s just a few things I threw together”, “I usually just take it easy”, “I skip runs all the time”, “I’m still unfit”, “it was just luck”. We have every excuse ready to whittle away any evidence we are actually trying, trying to get better, be better, do better. We don’t want to try and fail, or rather, we don’t want to be seen trying and then failing.

It makes me appreciate those people who put themselves out there. I will run this marathon, I will lose this weight, I will get an A in this test. When you put yourself out there, when you show the world that you are working your ass off for something, you should be applauded from the get-go. These are the people who we need to get behind, to support and to motivate.

It never is easy. It is never easy to manage a team, a diet, an exercise regime, a new skill, a country. I am behind those who try. Not those who explain how well they can do it by making it sound easy but those who admit to all the challenges ahead and instead tell me how they will manage the obstacles, the slopes, their own weaknesses, and what they will do right after they miss the final shot by an inch. Because the person who can admit that they may fail, but will try anyway, that is the person I want to be behind.


The walk home April 1, 2012

Filed under: life — wakingupincanada @ 9:03 pm
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I turned right instead of left when I walked out of work this evening. It is a welcome oddity that I finish at 7 on a Sunday. It is made even better by the light; the long evenings coming in. I used to laugh when  my Grandmother would say that; I’d begin mentioning it once the shortest day of the year passed on December 21st.

Now I know the feeling; the end of winter, the sign of hope, the beginning of something fresh. In Banff, the snow is melting, leaving slush and ponds of water across the sidewalk. It is getting warmer and I only wear my snow jacket skiing now. The streets are getting a little busier. New staff are coming and old staff are leaving.

Summer is coming.

I walked along Banff Avenue and called into Lululemon, where I was inspired and motivated; to run better, work better, plan my future better. Not a bad pep talk for a Sunday evening, without spending a cent. I walked along the Bow River to the spot I spent New Year’s Eve and watched the fireworks in between the water and the mountains. My brown suede boots filled with bits of snow and water from the melt. I sat down and looked at the bridge, the mountains, the forests, the blue sky and the white moon, the frozen river and the water in the middle still flowing. Simply beautiful:

It is the unplanned that can amaze us, the simple act of walking home a different way, a longer way, that can find us amidst nature and love unexpectedly. It reminded me of where I am, right here, right now. It reminded me that the best things in life are free.

I walked home with a spring in my step and took off my wet boots, feeling more energised than if I’d come straight home.

When I looked out the window, it was snowing.


The love of falling March 24, 2012

Filed under: life — wakingupincanada @ 11:44 am
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Skiing this week, we were ploughing through deep powder. The hill looked different, the snow re-designing the trails we knew well, re-shaping the landscape. Knowing our days are numbered as we enter Spring,  we were also trying some unfamiliar runs.

3 runs in, we aimed to avoid a questionable portion, and headed down a simple slope.  Without warning, I was deep in a hole full of snow, with my legs somehow tangled beneath me, one ski inexplicably intermingled with the other, and my mouth full of snow. I laughed, my friend laughed, and with some exaggerated gesticulating of my legs, I managed to eventually get out.

Further down, we decided to give a black diamond a go. We did a bit, did a bit more and then saw the cliff and opted out. We hiked back up to a green run, collapsing in the snow bank to catch our breath and cool down. Ski boots are not made for hiking. When we saw the cliff from the bottom, one of us thought no way, one of us thought maybe, none of us wanted to try it again.

When you fall, it is best to just let go. If you tense up, you can do more harm. Falling in fresh powder doesn’t hurt really, and after the first fall, you lose the fear and enjoy the ride instead. You might lie a little longer than necessary and get your breath back, you might jump right up and on, or you may have to untangle yourself, work out a way out and do your best to make it through.

It seems to be love is very much the same.

If you are happy to fall, and know that falling is part of it, then it becomes about the journey, not seeking the destination. The falls might be playful or they may see you land awkwardly or hard, head first. Seeing love as fresh powder gives a soft landing, a cushion, a resting place.  One of my friends believes that if you don’t fall, you are not trying hard enough.

There are times it is easier and more relaxing to take it easy down a simple green run, enjoying the scenery around you. However, there is a sheer excitement in upping the stakes, in mastering a tough run that works your legs, your balance and your courage.

We are surrounded by risks. There might be an easy way and a more difficult way but often we can only either hike back out carrying our stuff, or we  face the cliff.

I’m going to face the cliff.







Me on my Mat January 26, 2012

Filed under: life,yoga — wakingupincanada @ 9:20 pm
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It is Day 12 of the 30 Day Yoga Challenge.

I have committed to 6 classes a week for a month. I like my challenges: my fastest 5 miles, my Novel Writing Month and now, it is yoga’s turn for an intense period of dedication. My Mother would probably appreciate if I gave as much attention to my faith but in my defence, I do believe in living my faith through all my activities.

Now nearing the end of week 2, it is interesting to look at how far I have come. I am definitely stronger in my upward/downward dogs. I am managing a version of full wheel more often. I am balancing a little better in my half moons and reverse moons and aeroplanes. It is in my attitude that I am growing.

I arrived to my mat on Monday groggy and went through it. I felt stiff and boring and listless. I felt groggy still on Tuesday and then I remembered, I love this class. Tuesday evening Ashtanga is the start of my 2 days off. I smiled and moved and breathed. I love the instructo’s humour and hands on corrections. Wednesday was Flow and I went twice. It was a challenge in the crowded room, one fall over would have brought down at least another, and again I found myself digging deeper, softening my face and remembering my love. I loved this instructor’s wise words for contemplation in the midst of stretches adn balances. Thursday was Ashtanga and we were brought back to basics. It is amazing how little I know about the simple things and the wonderful opportunity to look at my foundations.

Why is it that when we commit to something we love we worry we will fail? As if the failure will bring with it punishment and condemnation. It rarely does you know, except from ourselves. Committing to something we love is saying yes to happiness, yes to enjoying the moment, agreeing to stick through the tough times even when it means putting our heads in the mat and just breathing in the energy to continue. Commitment means that at that moment, you show up. It does not mean that you are perfect, or that it will always be easy, or that things will work out the way they should like in a fairytale. Commitment is not something imposed but voluntarily given. You give because you love it, because the rewards, be they in emotional support, in health, in laughter or in love, outdo anything that you can give. My mat asks nothing more of me than to be on it, just as me.

I will be on my mat. I will be present and fully engaged. I may be stiff and tired but  Iwill be me, at that moment. I will be grateful for the opportunity to practice what I love.


Hamstrings do not define me January 25, 2012

Filed under: life — wakingupincanada @ 4:06 pm
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According to my yoga instructor, tight hamstrings do not make you a bad person. Apparently, it is ok if you cannot fully extend your leg into the air.

My hamstrings are actually pretty good, which, of course, does not make me a good person.There are other places though, that I can apply her wisdom:

  • Tensing up when I think on the future does not make me foolish or short sighted.
  • Having a weakness for chocolate and wine does not make me a glutton.
  • Taking the drama out of situations does not make me boring.
  • Forgetting to send my sister a Leaving Card does not make me a bad sister.
  • Not focusing on “career” does not make me lazy.
  • Being kind does not make me a pushover.
  • Being lost does not mean I am missing.
  • Not being pretty does not mean I can never be beautiful.
  • Being quiet does not mean I am not participating.
  • Being angry does not make me wrong.
  • Being sad does not mean I made a mistake.
  • Crying does not mean I regret one single thing.
  • Being afraid does not mean I will not take the risk.