Happy New Year 2014!

To say that 2013 was a year that was on the rougher side for me would be an understatement.  I was unfortunately left rather unmotivated to blog throughout most of the year.  The worst of 2013 was the loss of my companion and somehow the best was declaring bankruptcy.

I still have not got the tooth fixed that broke last February after my Greyhound trip from hell, thankfully we have had no more ER visits (*touching wood table as I type with two arms*) and I am hoping to now be past what has probably been the poorest I have ever been in my life.

On the plus side, I was able to take six courses, watch my partner accept her doctoral degree, start the process to a fresh financial start and fall in love with the sweetest kitten:

Domino

We celebrated New Years Eve on New York time in downtown Kelowna.  After having such a rough year, I really wanted to go out with a bang.  I was supposed to go out after the 9pm fireworks but went home for the midnight drop of the ball.

I had a new bottle of Carolan’s chilling in my freezer.  After three small glasses on ice and turning on the original Star Trek movie I had PVR’ed, I fell asleep on the couch from about 11:15 to 12:30, missing the change of the calendar year.  

The realization that 2013, one of the roughest years of my life, was behind me, made tears well up in my eyes and stream down my face.

After crawling into bed, I awoke at 3:30 and could not get back to sleep.  I tossed and turned for an hour before returning to the futon where I was met with the bestest of cuddles from our kitten.  I crawled back into bed around 6 and slept until 10am.

2013 was a roller coaster year of emotions for me.  From the highest of highs, to the lowest of lows and one day of the year in which I felt both extremes in the same day.

Moving on.

In another 47 days, I will be discharged from the mountain of debt I have been buried under since before graduating college in 2000.  In another 47 days, I get to start rebuilding my credit back up to what was near perfect before a massive drop in income and my no longer having the means to pay my creditors AND feed my family.  In another 47 days, I will start to put to use the knowledge gained from my credit counselling appointments to hopefully remain in the black rather than being so, so deep in the red.

Heading into the end of 2013, we had started to purge and clear space in our office to be able to transform it into a place where we can work on our crafts and hobbies.  A few nights ago, I took it for a test run as I had started to cut out the patchwork for my boxer quilt.  So far am loving it!  The ironing board is setup perpendicular to the table making it very easy to iron, move the fabric to the table and cut.

Now that we have the space created, I am anticipating us doing a lot more painting, drawing, sewing, crafting and whatever else we come up with in 2014.  It all has me very excited!  So much so, that I cut up the patchwork pieces for my quilt in the first two nights of having setup the space (which still needs much work to clear out the rest of the junk).

I am still on the lookout for a few more pieces to add to my dreamboard collage but feel pretty good with where it currently is at.  I have a pretty clear picture in my head of where I want to be and some of those pieces are already on the board.  The rest, I am on the lookout anytime I have a magazine open.

Dusting off my dSLR camera and guitar is high on my list of what I want to accomplish in 2014.  There are many tutorials online (not to mention books on my bookshelf) that I will be delving into this year.

After having taken so many Specialized Kinesiology courses last year, I really don’t know what, if any, I will take this year.  I will audit a few courses at work and if Ian Stubbings comes back to Canada, I will for sure take more SIPS courses.  But for now, I am feeling well equipped and instead want to focus on practicing and learning more about the body and nutrition.  I am registered in the ABE program at Okanagan College to upgrade/re-do my high school science classes (tuition free!) in an effort to become more knowledgeable about the body and how it works and brush up on quantum physics.  Now that I have practical applications for the courses, I figure I will do a lot better than I did in high school.

When it comes to my own health and wellness, I finally feel I might be in the head space to make some progress with weight loss.  Since the Fall when I had done a lot of healing after my cat died, I have had several people comment on how “good” I look and asking me about the weight I have lost.  The weight loss has been negligible and I note that what they are seeing is most likely the emotional weight that I have lost.  Funny thing is, any time someone has commented on how “good” I look, I actually feel like a bag of shit at that given point in time!

Last year I upgraded my LG Optimus One smartphone to the Nexus 4.  I was wanting a better camera to have with me in my pocket because quite frankly, the LG Optimus One’s camera is crap and took mostly crappy photos.  I am certainly taking a lot more photos with my phone since.  Most of which are from me documenting things such as cooking.  As we delve into more RAW, paleo, gluten free and clean eating, I will blog about our adventures in cooking/baking.

I will properly formulate and document my goals to help me achieve all that I want to get done in 2014.  I have been thinking a lot about 2014 over the past six weeks to decide what is most important to me and what (if anything) should be dropped.  Over the past few days, I have been also reflecting backwards.  Initially the thought was just to “coast” in 2014 but over the past couple of days I have reframed it to:

I am just going to enjoy life and be happy in 2014.

What about you?  Have you set goals for 2014?  Are you happy or sad to see 2013 behind us?  Do you set New Year’s Resolutions?  Are you successful with them?

What I did on my Summer Vacation 2013

Summer in the Okanagan is expected to be hot but this Summers heat has been accentuated with higher then normal humidity and a lot of 35C+ days.  When the temperature gets up that high (never mind feeling like we are still in Vancouver with the humidity), my daydreams go to those of Pumpkin Spice Latte’s and cool Fall mornings on my favourite cafe’s patios.  This is especially heightened this year with the upgrades along Bernard Avenue in Kelowna to widen sidewalks and increase the size of patios.

Health and Wellness

My Summer has unfortunately been one that has left me unmotivated, sad and really needing down and alone time.  I have always been a thinker and have had my ongoing battles with depression and anxiety over the years.  While I feel as though the bulk of my anxiety was released from my chest last Summer, it was a real eye opener for me to feel what I did, the intensity and the duration of it with the passing of my beloved companion.

Feeling as much as I did may very well be from the amount of healing I have done on and off over the years.  I am currently in the 17 year anniversary of the weekend from hell when I literally went numb for well over a decade and as evident in my holistic healing sessions, I am still healing from.  The numbness had me feeling very cold around death because I never felt anything while people around me wept.  When my cat died, it was as if every tear I had not shed since that weekend was released from a major break of the damn.

Shedding of Emotional and Physical Weight

During my time of grieving, I took a step from my desire to lose weight.  I had been so focused on losing weight for so long that I felt I needed to come at it from a different angle.  I took Systems Analysis type courses through college and realize that we often presented with the symptoms of problems but not heart of the problem itself.

I know the fat around my middle is a security blanket but until my healing sessions leading up to and over this Summer, had no idea I had been holding onto something so tightly which I finally started letting go of.  It is something the death of my cat seemed to really stir up and although his death really broke my heart, I am thankful for the catalyst of changes that have occurred since.

The last session I had was probably the most bizarre session I have had to date.  By mid-July, I was finally starting to move on and life started to normalize after a horrible start to my Summer.  Then I burned the crap out of my mouth, over and over and over with the pan friend potatoes of the Smoked Salmon and Avocado Eggs Benny I had made for dinner one night.  After burning myself several times, I wondered if the heat would ever come out of those damn potatoes!

For about two weeks I was in excruciating pain where the site of a tooth extraction from four years ago became very swollen and infected.  While this was going on, my sinuses were flaring up and as the pain and swelling in my mouth was going down, my ear started to ache.  We are going on five weeks now of clearing this up which in turn is also clearing a lot of old emotional junk out of the closet.  I feel like a changed man from that one session and very curious to see how I feel once this infection completely clears up.

I admit that I did not have much of an appetite after my kitty died and it was hard to eat solid food from the flare up in my mouth.  Since my cat has died, I have lost just shy of 20 pounds.  Shortly before life started to blow up in May, I set a goal of: Weight to 215 lbs by August 19th, 2013.  I am currently down to 217 and although I only missed my goal by two pounds, I have mixed feelings about declaring it a failure or a success.  I will take it for what it is and set my next weight loss goal.

Dreamboard

There was an evening over the Summer that I happened to sit down at my desk and started re-arranging the cut outs for my Dreamboard on the old busted white board I had fixed up for it.  This was not something I consciously sat down to do and was just in the office to put something away.  About two hours into doing this, I decided I might as well start taping them onto the board since I knew the pieces kept moving from wind and/or my (other) cat jumping up onto my desk.  Not until I was done did I even realize what I was doing!

I have only taped about half of the pieces I placed that day and currently what I have in total only covers just over half the board.  I know there are several pieces I am need to find and will have to go on a search for them.

Holistic Healthcare Practitioner:

The downside of the ups and downs and the healing I have undertaken since May is that it has unfortunately put my becoming a Holistic Healthcare Practitioner on hold.  While it is disappointing that four months have passed during this detour in my life, I am very happy and thankful to be where I am today.  When I have not felt healthy myself (emotionally or physically), I feel as though it is hypocritical of me to become a Holistic Healthcare Practitioner.

I will be pushing myself out of my comfort zone starting in September to start making money as a Practitioner.  I need to be balanced for it to allow myself the space to make mistakes, be slow at first, know that I won’t know everything and that learning is a lifelong process.  When I was at work on Friday, I sent off the information for my business cards to the graphic designer, donated four sessions for door prizes to two events and contemplating also handing out half prize session coupons as door prizes.

I am thankful my Father will be paying for another two SIPS courses coming up at the end of September that I am really looking forward to.  I wish I could somehow swing N.O.T. 2&3 in November but short of a miracle, they will have to wait until next year.

Boxer Quilt

I look forward to the day I can cross this off my list.  I have been wanting to re-purpose our office into a “healing and hobbies room”.  One of the biggest stumbling blocks for working on some of my hobbies is space.

Moving forward

My apologies for my absence and this scattered post.

Life is settling down, the temperatures are cooling off and we are heading into my favourite season of the year – Fall.  I will start re-working my goals over the next couple of weeks which will include my getting back into blogging and taking photos on a regular basis.

I write this post as a completely different person from the post I wrote in May.  I am calmer, more at ease and lighter both emotionally and physically.  For the first time in over a decade, I have future life goals which become clearer by the day.

I want to live a healthy, holistic and minimalist life.

Having worked in corporations, been a corporate Vancouver Starbux junkie (2+ times/day) and wanting at one point to acquire an MBA, I never thought I would get to a place in life where I want to be a hippie, living off the land and as anti-corporation as I have become.

It used to be that technology and climbing corporate ladders excited me and now, it’s looking at pictures of fresh produce and wanting to learn more about sustainable farming that gets me all hot and bothered.

Working on my Dreamboard

Before writing a lot of my blog posts, I research the topic I am about to write about because I don’t like making statements without having supporting information.  I am certainly thankful I decided to do a bit of research into visions boards:  what they are, how they work and why they might not work.  Not only have I found inspiration to get back to working on my own vision board but I also had an “Ah ha!” moment in seeing others vision boards online.

Creating a dreamboard has been on my to do list for quite some time now.  I purchased a few of those large pieces of stock cardboard from the dollar store closer to two years ago now.  Over a year ago, I even had images from magazines cut out, placed and ready for gluing onto the cardboard but there was still a few holes both physically and visionally.  I was so close to being ready to glue them onto the cardboard.  But I did not.

One of the things I have struggled with is what happens when one of those pieces no longer fits because my goals have changed or I want to add or replace an image?  I finally found a great answer to that while researching vision boards:  using cork board and thumb tacks.  Why didn’t I think of that!?

I am hesitant about piercing my images with tacks and spending money on a cork board but I do have an old white board I was going to throw out because the outer border was busted and I bought a bigger white board to replace it.  A few staples into the piece in the back where it was broken and its much sturdier now.  I have decided to freecycle this to use for my vision board!

After having fixed up the white board, I dug out the box I keep the images from magazines I cut out for doing art with.  I am going to have to dig even further because the file folder labeled “Dreamboard” seems to be missing a whack of the pictures I could have sworn I cut out.  In the meantime, I have gone through the ones that were in my box and pulled out appropriate pieces and placed some that I had previously pulled out back into the box.

I was going to work on my vision board (as well as our yard) last night but was hit with another wave of exhaustion yesterday which had me sleeping on the couch most of the afternoon and evening.  I did work on it enough to get through one box of images to sort through them.  I at least have enough going right now that I could start taping them onto the whiteboard as I search for more images.

While this originally started off as informational post I was going to write about vision boards, what they were, tips on creating them and why they do and don’t work, it has thankfully helped me to find the inspiration needed to get back to working on mine.

Do you have a vision board?  What types of images is on yours?  What type of materials do you use?