Waking Up In Canada

Time Out Just To See

Ah, rest December 8, 2011

Filed under: rest — wakingupincanada @ 11:44 am
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How happy I am! I awoke and wandered to yoga, I moved through my positions loving each one and then those beautiful words: Savasana. She told us after activity, we need rest and I smiled, as that was my day in full: Rest.

I have had a busy week, a busy few weeks, darting here and there, writing, skiing, living. Today though, is just for me. No plans, nobody to meet, nothing that has to be done. It feels good. I made a list of the things I want to do today. I like lists, you see. All that is on there is the nice stuff. My favourite cafe, read a book my friend is co-writing, maybe e-mail some people. I’ll pop into the library and re-charge my Kindle.

I look at the people around me working 2 jobs, sometimes 3, and I wonder where they get the energy. I love my skiing and working and socialising and writing but here, in the rest afterwards, this is where I glow.

 

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My own plan October 27, 2011

Filed under: rest,Run — wakingupincanada @ 11:23 am
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Yesterday, at yoga, our instructor informed us it was the new moon and energies may be low. To me, it made sense. I have been feeling less energetic since Monday, just not on-form. The worrying part was that next Saturday I am running the 5 mile Winterstart race in Banff and I feel it is too late to be taking it easy and too early to be scaling back. I also knew, new moon or old moon, as a big test approached, my instinct is always to rest.

I checked in with how I was feeling. I tidied our kitchen and spent most of the day at the kitchen table, reading. I only left to watch the end of Anne of Green Gables, my new heroine and “kindred spirit” before the boxset was due back in the library today. I let go off my Run Club meet and instead nested in. It wasn’t an easy decision. My mind had 2 voices, each arguing the pros and cons. I often tell friends to take a break when they just aren’t feeling it, but I could hear the voices of those people who say to just do it, keep to schedule, go. As darkness descended, I settled in and enjoyed it. Decision made. I wondered would I feel guilty.

This morning, I awoke and showed up for yoga. I felt stronger. My instructor, as if sensing my wish to move from cobra into upward dog but not having a clue to how to change my routine, took time to show me how to transition. While I am still working on the flow, I know the mechanics and I know I finally have the upper arm strength. It has taken 7 weeks. I pushed into upper wheel, my tummy pushing towards the ceiling supported by my arms behind my head and my feet planted firmly on the ground. It wasn’t easy and I breathed deeply when I returned to the ground. It was a brilliant session.

Sometimes we have to tweak the plan. So what if I miss a run?  I am training hard and training well. I am enjoying every workout, be it running, spinning, yoga or strength. I am pushing my limits in speed and strength. I am not overdoing it, and when my body says rest once in a while, it only makes sense to listen to it.

After 13 years of tests, exams, events and races, you think I would know and prepare for my earlier-than-others call to rest. It is not about the time given to training, or pushing too hard. I don’t believe it has ever harmed me, other than the feeling of guilt and confusion from not accepting how I feel. When I actually reflect, I realise the only time I worked right up to the end was when I wasn’t prepared. Perhaps I should take comfort in this call to rest and take courage to trust my gut. Why do I listen so easily to the things I find on Google and forget to take into account what I have learned from me?

 

A rainy afternoon October 8, 2011

Filed under: rest — wakingupincanada @ 10:50 am
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I am really lucky to run once a week with a run club. It motivates me, pushes me to run faster and is an opportunity to meet people and see the beautiful landscape. 4 of  us headed off in the rain on Wednesday evening, 2 Canadians, 1 Irish, 1 English, along a trail that horses use. It was mucky, in parts smelly and we were getting very, very wet. The Canadians asked us whether we were used to this. My English team-mate replied, “I miss the rain sometimes”. I was shocked. The reliability of it not raining is something I love about it here, and when rain is expected, we know in advance and prepare. In Ireland, it just rains. It may only rain for 10 minutes in the day, but you never know when, and you are constantly alert. I appreciate the dryness even when it is overcast, but I know I cannot depend on it being dry when I leave work or come out of the shop or by the time I finish hanging my washing out. It is why I drove everywhere (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it). She went on to explain “the weather is always good here, so I feel I should be out doing something. Rain gives you a reason to just stay at home and cuddle up”.

I got home, soaked through, cold and sweaty.  I enjoyed a hot shower more than usual, changing into fresh dry clothes, and eating a hot meal. Cosy and warm, I just relaxed. I thought back on the idea of rain being an excuse to rest. I know at times I worry about resting too much, especially here in nature’s playground. I fill my days off with hikes, or a trip to the museum, or to try the multitude of different eateries. I decided to rest. For my 2 days off, I would take it easy. I wasn’t going to be lazy, something I can be too often when I vegetate into a couch potato.  I kept up with my running schedule, but afterward, I came back to my home and stopped. I read. I cooked meals. I wrote. I sent e-mails and rang people. For an hour, I just sat looking out the window at the mountain. I thought on the quote from Lin Yu-Tang:

“If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon

in a perfectly useless manner,

you have learned how to live”

I thought on the people wishish for the day they retire or to win the lotto so they can quit work, just so that they can do nothing, and yet have trouble sitting still in the evening.

I genuinely enjoyed it. Taking it easy is something I know I am good at, but actually scheduling rest was rewarding in a way I did not realise. Thoughts and feelings came to me that I did not know existed. I became aware of what was going on inside: the multi-layered cake that it was. I saw the things I missed about home and the things I loved about Canada, and realised that they exist alongside each other, without competing. They just are. I looked at how I was doing: the new friends I have met, and the older ones who keep me in the loop at home; my work here compared to my work at home and my attitude to both; my past and my future.  I saw more about me in one afternoon than I had over the past year of soul-searching. Perhaps the past year of soul-searching helped me find answers in that one afternoon, but I know it was the act of deciding to stop, to just sit and be, that helped me see through the rain, to see me.