Monday, April 27, 2009

...and another foot

It was really bugging me that I couldn't get the Sportline 345 info out in the last blog post. Not to the point that it brought out "computer Nance" (believe me you don't want to see her in action) but just to the point that I had to get it to work - just call this aspect "OCD Nance".
So here it is - Sportline 345. Now you have a picture and a ms pookie review of this gadget and can make your own decision.
It also dawned on me that, though most of these pedometers are clipped to your waistband or belt, some people prefer at times to just be able to put it in their pockets hence another reason my client retains a few different models. So, before you buy also consider how you want to carry the thing.
To my mind ideally it would be small, able to be clipped to your waistband or popped into a pocket, and have a cover over the reset button so that it couldn't be triggered by accident. As I said, all I want is for it to count the steps - remember the sheer simplicity of numbers gives me a soft and fuzzy feeling of contentment - the more they go up the better. You may want all the bells and whistles so check that out too. What motivates you: calorie counts, distance walked or numbers?
Whew, now I feel very relieved!
I think I'll stay away from the computer for the rest of the day - save myself from getting obsessed about my other task...making a CD from a voice recording. That brings out "Computer Nance"; not the best body worker unless you want to be poked and prodded and sworn at. Nope, today's a day for the "Walking Vallium".

Sunday, April 26, 2009

One foot in front of the other

Did you know that walking is just a controlled fall? Well it is. An instructor told me so when I was animating my first walk cycle during my studies at Sheridan College. If you don't believe me, watch babies and the elderly walk and you'll know it is true.

I have been wearing a pedometer for a few weeks now, actually ever since recommending it to my first weight balancing pilot project group and I have to say I am extremely impressed with it as a motivation tool!

Now, I love to walk but like everyone else I find it difficult to find the time do it. There are so many other things much more pressing in my life – such as sitting at the computer for hours writing this stuff, which God knows is really, really important! And like many athletic types I discount the benefits of “just walking” vs jumping on the bike or the roller blades for a brisk all out cardio blast or sweating it out at an ashtanga class. It’s too simple. It’s crazy that, if we ate the same way we do now, just by adding 2,000 steps to our day (the equivalent of a 15 minute walk) one could loose weight.

Summarizing some research by Dr. James O Hill Centre for Human Nutrition at University of Colorado Health Sciences Centre:

Sedentary people walk 2,000 – 3,000 steps per day
Average number of steps per day for healthy weight:
- Women 18 – 50 is 5,000 total steps per day
- Men 18 – 50 is 6,000 total steps per day

In general 8,000 – 10,000 total steps will help you lose weight.

The more steps you take the more calories you burn. As your metabolism speeds up it continues to burn fat more efficiently throughout the day and night. Burn more calories than you are consuming – walk a little more, take an extra trip around the grocery store, park a distance away from the mall etc. Move your body everyday. Find “natural” ways to bring walking into your day.

Yesterday I decided to incorporate a “natural” way into my day. I walked to the grocery store to pick up a few items. The round trip would normally take 30 minutes. But, I decided to go by way of Walker’s Line (seemed appropriate) along Fairview and then down Appleby, stopping in at Starbucks for a lemonade to fortify me for the last ¼ leg of the trip. So, yes I was walking for 2 hours. It was a beautiful day and I felt great! Please bear in mind I am in good shape and work physically for a living so I don’t recommend this as a start point for anyone; you have to work your way up to this – not that most people would choose to do so anyway, but you never know maybe someday we’ll see hordes of people walking with packs of food on their backs. It could happen.

Anyway, I love the effect of this little gizmo except for the fact that, and I give this as a word of warning, you will probably go through a few models of pedometers before you find the one that works for you. After logging an incredibly paltry number of steps over the period of a few days I found that to register any steps on my first pedometer I had to run amok stomping around the house like a Tyrannosaurus Rex – the kitties flew out of my way the day I finally tested it for accuracy and found this to be so. And the one I have now (the Sportline 345), though excellent for registering the steps is also excellent for losing them as the reset button is exposed and easily triggered – mid way through my trip to the grocery store I’d registered around 8,000 steps but the Fortino’s must be located in Burlington’s own Bermuda Triangle as I’d somehow lost 7,675 along the way by the end of my trek.

They have pedometers that will tell you distance walked, calories burned, time of day, your mother’s maiden name and what you had for dinner last night – O.K, maybe I’m exaggerating here. Some will store 7 days worth of info. A client of mine who has a much more technical and analytical mind than me, has been through no less than 5 models over the last few years in trying to find just the right one.

Granted, as an engineer her demands are a little more involved than mine. Me, having a simple, easy to please obsessive compulsive side - I get a thrill out of seeing the numbers go up. That alone motivates me, weird eh? I also like pretty, shiny things…but that’s another story.

My advice; keep it simple. Increase the number of steps walked in a day, that’s all that you need to begin to make progress.

So, walk right out there right now and get yourself one (or 5) of these little task masters (after reading product reviews, I think my next purchase will be the Omron HJ112– supposed to be accurate and silent which neither of my others were); find different ways you can add more steps to your day and over time results can be yours. You’ll feel a lot better along the way, be motivated to meet an attainable goal every day which will lead you to your ultimate one.

Just do it and be present – step by step.

By the way, don't you find it amazing that at the press of a few keys we can read a review by a ms pookie out there somewhere who has sorted out all of this stuff already and she likes to knit too. How cool is that! We really all are connected.

Now that I’ve blown a few hours on this I better haul my butt out there and get going before the sun goes down. If you see me on the road give a smile and a wave, you’ll know me by the clicking sound I make while I walk – at least for now.

One hour later: just back from my walk and I'm a little less impressed by this "we're all connected" stuff as the link for the Sportline didn't work so I had to take it out. I'm just hoping that the Omron will. Boy, one gets so jaded so quickly with this technology stuff.

However when I was on my walk (it was at 7p.m. - ignore the time stamp on the blog as I haven't sorted that one out yet) I said "good morning" to other walkers as I passed by them and then had to correct myself to say, "good evening". Well, when I was walking back - at that very same spot someone said "good morning" to me and then corrected herself. So there is there some sort of connection going on there or what?! Do do do do....(somewhere out there a Theremin is playing).

Thursday, April 23, 2009

BRAINSTORM - the power of words

Continuing on from my previous post WHAT DO YOU WANT?

My teacher Swami Radha used to say that the way we use our words forms our reality.

Using hypnosis and self-hypnosis to achieve goals involves: goal setting, imagining, brainstorming, listening, reflection, restating goals from insights gained, taking stepwise action and reward (sometimes the action or the results are the reward).

In reality these are artificial divisions, aspects that shift and weave during an ongoing process of self evolution. Having said that, I believe it may prove helpful to explore the nuances contained in each aspect.

Brainstorming involves fact finding through questioning and listening to the words that we say and becoming aware of our body/mind responses to these messages.

This process develops clarity around the behavioural, thought and emotional patterns surrounding our challenge. Ask yourself questions and get specific about the answers; let the answer initiate more in depth questioning. Probe like DRAGNET’S Joe Friday – “just the facts ma’am” but with a little more warmth. Question like an insatiably curious innocent child whose response to any answer you give will always be “why?” or “why not?” Since we know the ultimate answer to why is “because”, phrase your questions in terms of: how, when, where or who to give yourself something to work with.

Taking a hypothetical example of a woman who wants to get rid of 20 lbs of excess weight let’s explore one of many goal setting questions – “What keeps you from achieving your ideal weight right now?”

Her answer is, “I have an uncontrollable urge to eat excessively at 3 p.m.”
What do you mean by this statement? Is there someone or some situation forcing you to eat? What do you mean uncontrollable? Are you aware as you are eating that you are eating excessively? When does this awareness kick in? Could you choose to stop once you become aware? What’s going on physically, mentally, emotionally around that time within and around you? How do you feel in your body at this time? What are you thinking about yourself or your situation as you feel the uncontrollable urge? Can you not physically remove yourself from the situation – what would happen if you did? What would happen if you didn’t eat? Is your initial assessment of the situation an exaggeration? And so on.

Seek more clarity regarding your challenge. Listen to yourself speak, to the words you choose. Observe emotional reactions, resistance to change, uncomfortable physical feelings as you answer goal setting questions – note these and move on to other goal setting questions to get an overview.

Most importantly, give yourself space between discoveries to allow new perspectives, awareness and possible solutions to surface. As you listen through the nonjudgmental wisdom of your body/mind you will be aware of a “feeling sense” about your answers. When there is clarity and authenticity there is a feeling of a grounded calmness and a “knowing” - that aha or light bulb moment.

As you become clearer rephrase your statement to more accurately reflect your new awareness of the situation. Using our example, “I have an uncontrollable urge to eat excessively at 3 p.m.” our new statement is filled with accurate information and contains the seeds of ideas for change.

“At 3 p.m. I feel extremely drowsy after sitting at my desk all day. I work in a high powered environment. We all eat our lunches at our desks. I can’t just lie down and relax for a few minutes as I don’t think that that would be acceptable at work. So since I need an energy boost I get a few cookies, which leads to more cookies and a cup of coffee. I realize maybe I’m dehydrated, that maybe I need to drink more water, but I think then I’ll have to pee all of the time. I commute an hour each way to work. When I get home from work I nibble while I make dinner for us and the kids. I clean up and by the time I get the kids into bed I’m just too tired to do anything so I relax in front of the T.V. and sometimes have some chips and pop."

As we can see in our hypothetical example, fatigue and hydration needs to be addressed but this new statement reveals many other challenges that she can address to help her balance her weight. The seeds of potential problem solving measures and actions are contained within her own words! Possibilities she would have otherwise not considered if she had accepted her initial assessment of the situation as uncontrollable.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I’m reading THE POWER OF NOW by Eckart Tolle.

The next morning before getting out of bed I consult the oracle cards JOURNEY TO KANAKA MAKUA as I always do. They are a source of guidance for me; a way to understand how I can make the most of the day. At least that, or some question like it, is the intention I have as I shuffle the cards most mornings.

How can I make the best of this day?

I run the question over and over in my mind; let myself feel and sense the essence of the question as the cards slide over each other with each pass. Sometimes as I shuffle a card will fall out of my hands. Sometimes more than one will. Sometimes as I shuffle it seems as if a card asks to be picked by poking up beyond all the others and just drawing my fingers to it. Sometimes when I feel the cards are ready I fan them out and pass my hand over them and “find” my hand stopping over the card that holds the answer. Other times I divide them into 3 stacks and put them together into one, picking the card that is on the top of the new arrangement.

Sometimes as I shuffle, at the very moment that my mind wanders a card will fall out of my hands or becomes difficult to put into the deck and it is the one that has significance for the “mind stuff” of that very moment – perhaps a “heads up” about what the day may bring or about the type of awareness required of me this day. Then I have to recapture what I was thinking, feeling or sensing; where my awareness was at that moment of lack of focus.

Or, I have been drifting for some time on automatic pilot and the cards scatter like my thoughts and I see a pattern laid out before me reflecting some pattern in my present behaviour which will have ripples throughout the rest of my day.

Sometimes one card doesn’t “feel” complete and I choose more messengers or they choose me; often I don’t know which is the case.

On this day I ask, “How can I make the best of this day?”

I shuffle the cards, keeping my concentration clear and crisp, one rises above and slightly behind the others. My fingers are stuck to it and wouldn’t move.


Out of all the 49 other cards that I could have picked this one appears! (I just find this so cool and magical!) I am reminded as I live this day that the past is just a memory and the future yet to be though both arise and move through me time and time again with such a painful intensity of emotion that sweeps me away robbing me of the pure joy that resides in each moment. Again and again I bring myself back to all that really exists – this present moment.

Really, as I type the words on the screen, and as you are reading them now of...each...moment...there resides the opportunity for such clarity that the whole universe, of which we are just a small part, opens up within and around us and we can realize the immensity and power in this "small, mundane" act.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Yesterday morning after my yoga practice I was feeling pretty fine until I sauntered into the den to find a message on my answering machine and the decline began.

A client was apologizing for the late notice. He’d have to cancel his lomi session. He’d tried to contact me the night before by e-mail but was having computer problems and couldn’t reach me. I hoped all was well with him and appreciated his consideration but none the less I was going to miss our session.

As I drew a line across his appointment I was reminded by another line drawn across my 5:00 appointment that just the night before another “regular” client’s family had to cancel their son's session due to changes in caregivers. I enjoy seeing this developmentally challenged young man and would miss his presence too and wished them all well with their transition.

So, within the blink of an eye the plans for my day were turned upside down. Now, I hate routine, but surprisingly once a schedule for a day has been planned I get “psyched up” to work with my clients and I do find it difficult to “shake it off”.

This is one of the challenges of my line of work and I chided myself, “honey, if you can’t adapt to change you are in the wrong business!” But despite my little pep talk I still felt the emptiness of being in limbo.

And, with all this space in my mind thoughts of another long time client drifted in. Just last weekend he e-mailed me stating that due to the economic climate his family is moving to another locale so he’ll only occasionally be able to come for private yoga sessions. Over the 12 years he has been studying with me on a regular basis. He has formed a solid commitment to yoga and has developed a body awareness we only dreamed of in the beginning. I know he will be able to continue his practice on his own and for this I am very grateful but I felt sad about how the state of the economy is affecting people and their morale.

By now I was feeling not only an emptiness, but a sadness and downright grumpy.

And then to top it off my sister-in-law sends me one of those e-mails. You know the ones – “YOU ARE ONE OF THE SWEETEST PEOPLE I KNOW…send this to 1,000 people in the next 3 minutes or…yada yada yada. (See I told you I was grumpy!) I sure as H wasn’t feeling SWEET! But I sent it back to her anyway and thanked her for the thought and in the process realized that this synchronistic message was yelling at me, “SNAP OUT OF IT! All is not lost. The sun is shining AND now you have a day off. How often does that happen?”

So, though it would be an opportune time for me to prepare my books for my tax return, with the sincerity of Scarlett O’Hara in GONE WITH THE WIND I say, “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.” call my massage therapist sister and we go for brisk walk.

After letting me rant on she agreed that I did seem grumpy and, she was a tad quick to add, sarcastic. “You need to be degrumpified.”

Her listening ear; my ankles burning as we tore up the pavement; the sun glistening off the lake and warming my skin; the little dog decked out in a home made crash helmet riding in the bicycle basket; and - “to complete the degrumpification process” - being treated to coffee all indeed did work their degrumpifying magic on me.

And, then re-inspired I could honestly declare, “After all…tomorrow is another day!”

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Readers Digest Reject #2

This word for word conversation occurred a few years ago while my Mom was still living alone in the family home.

When my hermit-like, elderly mother asked me what I'd been doing that day I told her I'd been "out and about". When I posed the same question to her she said she'd been "here and there".

Surprised by her response (thinking that maybe one of my siblings had coaxed her out of the house for a drive - which she'd accept on the rare occasion) I asked, "Where is there?"

"Oh, you know..." she replied waving her hand, as we leaned on the kitchen counter looking out the window. "There," and points to a spot on the floor two feet away.
100 words.
True story

Readers Digest Reject #1 tells the sad story of hopes and dreams dashed by rejection.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Welcome to my Bizarro World

I live in a Bizarro world.

Somewhere in my mind a phone is ringing. No, wait. The phone is ringing outside of my mind.

I stumble out of bed and a conversation begins. “Ummm, hmms” issue out of my throat accompanied by automatic head nodding courtesy of some invisible, puppeteer, spirit guide and apparently an appointment has been made by me.

“I’m sorry to have awoken you. You can go back to bed now.”


“What, pfffft no, no, no, I’ve been up for ages.” (Head nods yes). “No problems. See you…?” My eyes come into focus and light upon my appointment book, “at... 3:30 today.”

The computer beckons and I stumble over to heed its call.

“Please tell me, other than “realizing there is no perfection” specifically what other existentialist answers came to you through yoga?” it asks.

A few weeks ago from cyberspace this question splat across my screen “What is the purpose of life?...PLEASE TELL ME WHAT THE ANSWERS WERE THAT YOU FOUND!!



Well it, the computer, doesn’t actually ask these questions an editor does. An editor who I have not met, for a book whose publication, each springtime over the past 4 years, I have been told via e-mail is “imminent”, regarding an article I wrote from the perspective of my 16 year old anorexic self. So, every once in a while from out of cyberspace these questions like the flowers of springtime “spring” onto my screen demanding to be answered.

All righty then.

In order to fortify myself for the task to come I go downstairs to brew a cup of coffee. In big bold blue letters backed by a sea of gold the word BONANZA pulses on the TV screen. A word just yesterday I had decided had become one of my favourite Spanish words of all time, meaning either calm sea or prosperity which cracks me up when I think of the TV show by the same name. Hoss, Little Joe, Ben and Adam come to mind and the fact that every fiancée any one of them ever had, met a horrible, but beautiful, death within the span of an hour. A cacophony of people speaking in a language I do not know, issued at the speed of light, bombards my senses; the Spanish language on CNN (say ehnay ehnay) is still unintelligible to me other than the word BONANZA.

While the brain stimulating, brown liquid drips into my cup I go down to the laundry room to collect items that have been drying for days now. As I stand to leave, loaded down by my full laundry basket, a kitten clings to a branch. On the poster where this perpetually youthful kitten has been dangling for over 18 years now the words HANG IN THERE transport me to the day when it arrived.

Dad and my niece Kait appeared on my doorstep.

“Here” he laughed, shaking his head as he handed me the poster over the threshold. “We can’t stay, gotta get Kait back home. We were at the mall and this made us think of you.”

I stood there gazing at the message on the poster in my hand as they skipped back to the car sharing a conspirational laugh.

The sounds of their laughter fades into the distance as the words HANG IN THERE remain in view.

For Pete’s sake it’s not even noon yet!

The only thing that would make this day more Bizarro would be that I get confused with my double who has been lurking around my hometown for 30 odd years now. But I hope this doesn’t happen as I look like s**t today and I’d prefer to be mistaken for someone else who looks a hell of a lot better than this.

Although, maybe in Bizarro terms that wouldn’t really be what I want, but then I'm not sure.