Sunday, April 29, 2018

So... Vertigo.

The week before last I was so pumped to participate in my 30-Day Core Challenge using LEKfit and Lauren Kleban's five minute core workout. The plan was to do it daily for 30 days in addition to my regular workout. After only a week, I began to notice significant improvement in my core strength, though the workout was still killing me every time, things were toning up and I was incredibly excited to see what would be revealed at the end of the month. Unfortunately as I was getting ready for work on Tuesday morning, I bent down to lace up my Chucks and the entire world tilted beneath my feet. It was a killer dizzy spell and I thought, yep, you're officially old when you bend over to tie your shoes and you need to sit down.

I did indeed sit, expecting the spell to pass. When it didn't I had to call work to let them know I couldn't make it in, I had vertigo. It's still with me as I type this, tho it's getting better by degrees. There are so many things about vertigo that are bumming me out, not the least of which is that I am unable to do my workouts. This week's bounce class looks amazing, challenging and like it will be so much fun. I hate having to rest, lie down, or even just sit still. 

But while my physical world has been spinning out of control, the way I have been living has come sharply into focus. I feel quite vulnerable share this, but I suspect it's going to be one of those life altering events that I'll look back on and go - wow, what if I didn't get the message and kept pushing the way I was - maybe I can help someone else or give another person the "aha" moment I've had this week, so I have elected to write about it.

Let me introduce myself - Hi, I'm Shannon. Former sugar-holic. I'd like to say I've reformed but it turns out I've simply transferred my sugar addiction onto work. I'm now a work-a-holic. I work so much I don't make time to cook so I've been having pre-made vegan gluten-free meals delivered in. Great time saver, relatively healthy, but perhaps not the kind of nourishment one gets when one cooks for themselves at home? I don't know. As I have reflected upon the past 18 months, I've realized that I've worked non-stop. Full time. Monday to Friday in a writer's room, carving out my own material for the various shows I personally have in development in the evenings and on weekends. The only thing I stop to do is workout, grab a bite and then get back to it. I have put off seeing friends apart from rare occasions, and while there was a four week hiatus from work over Christmas - I was working on my own stuff. This isn't going to change in the foreseeable future. When you work in television, you have to take the work while it's there because inevitably, one day the offers will slow to a stop and you will have wanted to have built your next egg (says the voice in my head that's been pushing me to the brink of lord knows what). Seems I'd forgotten Cardinal Rule No. 6 no being a hateful meanie to myself. 

There's more to this story beyond just the work stuff. I've come to realize that I take on the pain or suffering that I see around me, I feel it deeply, but I've forgotten that it's okay to let it go, in fact we must let all of that anguish go. Holding onto suffering creates thick black blocks of energy in our bodies that eventually present themselves as disease. Turns out that my outsides now match my insides - I am out of balance - literally.

That's a lot of information. I work too much and I feel too much. Some people might say that being a compassionate hard-worker is not a bad thing, in fact I am one of those people. I say that. I applaud and look up to people that are able to juggle a million things, who are activists, who get angry by injustice. Those people are heroes to me. But I suspect that they have found balance in their lives. In fact, one such hero, Shonda Rhimes who is likely one of the busiest moms in show business, wrote a book about how she stopped saying she was too busy and started saying yes to fun stuff, the book is called Year of Yes

Injustices in the world are not going away and I will continue to be a voice for the voiceless where I can. Stress is part of this western world we live in, it isn't going away, so I have got to find ways and tools to deal with it.

With the help of He Who Shall Not Be Named, I managed to get to a team of acupuncturists this weekend. It was intense - they jabbed needles into my neck - forcefully and not leaving them in, in order to increase circulation. Apparently my neck was so tight, blood was not getting to my brain. They stuck needles into the top of my head and hooked then up to what looked like mini-jumper cables attached to a battery and ran currents into my head. 

That's not me, I was not allowed to take photos - but that gives you an idea of the mad science of it all. I'm not sure if I feel better or not but I am going back for more. 

The Chinese Doctors told me that my body is incredibly weak and run down - they blamed being vegan, I said I wasn't eating meat so we have to work from there. I am anemic and apparently I don't have enough blood. I am assuming they meant red blood cells - a great many things were likely lost in translation. Either way - turns out that pretty much everything I have been doing food-wise is wrong. I love spicy foods and wine and eat a lot of salads. I start every day off with my favorite smoothie. All of that is going to have to change in order for me to build up my blood and my strength. Warm foods only. Nothing raw. Only cooked. No alcohol. No spicy foods. What?I'm such a creature of habit, what the heck am I going to eat? 

Beets apparently. Beets and dark colored things like red grapes.

I'm at a bit of a loss as I want to get better but have been drinking smoothies in the morning for years. I have no idea what to eat that's warm and frankly unless I'm going to Mythology Diner for weekend brunch - warm food sounds gross. But I also recognize that things have to change. I have to cook for myself and take better care of me. Like they say, put your own oxygen mask on first before assisting others, right?

So... berries are on this week's menu...

Room temperature only!

And vegan bone broth. (No vegans were harmed in the making of this soup).

I am hoping to be well enough to return to work tomorrow. Fingers crossed. But for now - my 30-Day- Core Challenge will have to wait, as will all of my fabulous workouts. Good thing Lauren keeps all her workouts up on the site so I'll never truly miss out.

Deep breaths. More music. More laughter. And some time off. At the height of the spinning this week I booked a cottage in the woods for the second my time on this current show ends. Of course I will be writing while I'm away, but I can also swim, walk in the woods and BBQ veggie burgers. It's not about stopping work or avoiding stress - it's about balancing work and stress out with recreation and relaxation.

It's okay to stop moving once in a while. Let's hope my brain gets that same message soon.


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Don't believe everything you think...

My how the pendulum sways. Yesterday I was on a gratitude high and today I'm feeling like the whole world sucks. What is up with that? The moon's not full or new or waxing or waning or doing whatever the hell the moon does to fuck with us. Mercury has gone retrograde. Nothing in my work or home life has changed or shifted for the worse. In fact He Who Shall Not Be Named and I had a beautiful brunch together this morning. The sun is still shining. Those birds are still singing. In fact it's an even nicer day out there today than it was yesterday. So what gives? Why the dark clouds?

Uh... I wish I had the answer to that question. Spiritual teachers all say more or less the same thing - look within. You won't find the answers "out there". Okay fine. But looking within all I found was gloom. So I decided to turn to myself for advice in the most literal way. I looked for an old pep-talk I may have given myself somewhere, at some other dark time in my life and I found an ancient post that I wrote entitled: Don't believe everything you think.

First of all, that in itself felt like permission to not me such a hateful meanie to myself for feeling rotten, so thanks Self. But I also found the rest of the post helpful so thought I'd pass it on.

Our minds can run away with us. Stress may kick in and get the better of the situation and before we know it, negative thoughts on speed play over and over like a skipping track on an 80s record.

Thoughts like:
I'm too fat
I'm too old
I'm too tired
It's too late for me
I'm ugly
I'm stupid
I'll never get this right
Who do I think I am?
I'm not smart enough
Not young enough
Not creative enough
Not strong enough
Not thin enough
Not sexy enough
I'm too short
too tall
too ethic
Not ethic enough
I'll never have that dream body
Never get to my goal weight
Never be happy...

Do any of these thoughts sound familiar? You're not alone. We all have them. It's as if we're programmed from a very young age to feel less-than. To believe that we are somehow inferior.

I'm here to say, please don't believe everything that you think. It's not enough to just not believe the things you read or everything you hear. Negative thinking plays a huge role in us sabotaging our best efforts, not just with fitness, but in everything we do.

Find something about yourself, even if it's just one thing, and be grateful for it right now. Appreciate it RIGHT NOW!
Your beautiful eyes
gleaming smile 
what a terrific mother you are
great cook
fabulous singer
dedicated runner
your awesome hair
great manicure
your ability to tell a funny joke 
hell, your ability to remember a funny joke
how lovely you feel in a certain pair of shoes
the way your bronzer looks when you've applied it just right
your slender neck
your delicate wrist
your shapely calves
your ability to paint
your skill with decorating
your mad table tennis skills
that you're still young enough
that your current weight is close enough (love that one!)
how brilliant you look in blue
or my personal fave...

the way you've worn in your favorite sweat pants just right... whatever it is... say something nice to yourself today. Get really cheeky and say it out loud you brave devil you!

By adding a positive thought, it makes less room for a negative one and it offers more time for things like this...

Now doesn't that look like a nicer place to be?

Sometimes, we're gonna feel like crap and that's okay. So what if spring has sprung and the whole world feels happy and glad and you don't. Don't beat yourself up. (I'm saying that to me as much as to you today) Wherever you find yourself, be kind to you. You're gonna be okay. 

Hope your week blossoms into something beautiful, noble reader.