Jealous of the living

I’m tired. I want a break.

I want a break from work, from expectations of me, from winter, from to do lists, from responsibility, from meals…. but we all know that none of these things are really the problem. The problem is in my brain. The problem is always in my brain.

I need a break from people talking to me and also from being alone.

I need a break from missing my routine and a break from having a routine to miss.

I need a break from feeling alive and also a break from feeling dead.

I wish I weren’t so dead. I shut down in the middle of yoga class today. I just had to escape and the only piece of my day that I could let drop was to mentally check out of the one hour I set aside to actually be in the moment.

I had to stop moving my body. It was too heavy. I heard the instructor guide everyone through a beautiful flow while I laid there in shavasana (corpse pose). Jealous of them. Jealous that they were alive and able to move and I was just a dead corpse and couldn’t participate.

Then some tears fell onto my mat. They were probably mine. It just made me so sad that I was dead and I couldn’t do yoga.

I have a vague memory of finding an ability to feel joy like a fluttering bird warming my heart, but I must have relaxed and left the cage door open, because it flew away.

I have a necklace with a picture of a bird on one side and the word “happiness” on the other. It reminds me that eventhough happiness flies away from me like a flighty bird, I am supposed to keep chasing it.

But I’m tired of chasing. I don’t feel like I am able to catch that bird. Today I’m the half eaten worm already hanging out of his mouth.

Dear month of March, I kinda hate you. I know that sometimes I say that to all the months. But you hold a special place of disdain in my heart. Whenever you are around, I always end up dripping tears all over the city.

Galatea of the Spheres by Salvador Dali

Galatea of the Spheres by Salvador Dali – I love this painting.

Of soup and juice

I cooked some food last night for the first time in a long time.  Cutting up the vegetables to make the soup made me think about the similarities between juicing and making soup. They are really just different ways of making the nutrients more palatable so that we can ingest more of them and get more variety and quantity of the plant’s vitamins.

I think the goal of eating is to get the maximum amount of nutrients from plants to increase our physical stamina and brain power. That seems to make sense.

Humans are the only animals that consistently cook food. I remember reading something somewhere about how a big turning point in human evolution from the neanderthal was the knowledge and ability to cook food. I thought that the significance was just about cooking meat so that we could digest the meat. But now I see it’s more than just that.

But it’s really hard work to eat three big crunchy carrots each day. It’s much easier and more enjoyable to have carrot soup one day and roasted carrots the next and carrot juice another and then some carrots in a salad. If you find your food enjoyable and easy to eat, you will probably eat more of it. That means you will get more nutrients.

Also, because we can cook food, we can get more variety in our diets by different food combinations and by accessing the nutrients in those foods that can’t be eaten raw- like dried kidney beans, potatoes, cassava root.

So, in summary, juicing is a way of extracting more nutrients from vegetables that I would not normally eat. And cooking is sort of the same thing. I wonder if eating cooked plant foods will feel nourishing for my body, just like juicing does?

Should I get started on my research study grant application? Or do you think someone has already looked into this?

Maybe this guy already beet me to it:

Captainvegetable

I am I – Captain Vegetable! With my carrots and my celery.

A big black box

There’s a blockage. I’m hiding something and I know it.

I don’t want to write. How can I write if I don’t want to hear what I have to say?  I don’t want to pick up the pen or open my heart because I know what is sitting there waiting to come out. I’ve done so much hard work to heal myself but there is one more dusty corner in my heart that’s starting to clog my arteries. I’ve ignored it for long enough. It’s shouting to be heard.

It’s a sad story. I haven’t told this story yet.  I haven’t even told it to myself. It’s a story about a little girl who was always left all alone without any food. She would shut off her body and her mind until someone would come to tell her it was time to raise the curtain and act alive for a bit. Then repeat. It’s my story. (this is hard to admit). I guess it’s my truth.

Those who were there know the basics. I was alone often and didn’t eat much. It’s true. But the shame, the blockage, the days, the part that I’m hiding because it hurts too much. The truth is that the duration and extent of the deprivation was more profound than anyone realized. And if I allowed myself to feel at those times, I would have been consumed by loneliness and hunger. I shut off to survive. And I am ashamed of all of this.

Growing up, I learned a valuable survival lesson that would have been helpful in a concentration camp: Convince yourself that you don’t really need food or love and you will be able to survive the deprivation. The problem was, I didn’t grow up in the war (and neither did my parents or grandparents). I grew up in a nice suburban neighborhood where our bank account was as full as everyone else’s fridge.

There is a lot more to say here but I’m not ready to peel it back right now. These wounds and secrets are buried deep and they are going to bleed when I take them out. So I’ll put the bandaid back on for today and take another quick look tomorrow.

Much love,

xoxo Lyla.

If you fall, I will be there. - floor.

You are here

I’m not feeling great today. Just a bit anxious and a bit depressed. Really, today is what I would have called a good day a few months ago. But now it’s kinda a bad day. Being even a bit depressed doesn’t feel very good. It doesn’t feel good to walk around wanting to die, wishing you’d never been born. I think it will pass soon. But there is always that big fat question mark of doom. Lately, I’ve started to forget that it’s there.

I’ve been drinking about a pint (16oz)(a starbucks grande) of fresh raw vegetable juice each day. I go to a one hour yoga class 2-3 times a week and do ballet once a week and I never get less than 7 hours of sleep a night (I aim for 9-10 hours a night). I eat homemade lunch and dinner at regular times. I take my medicine religiously. I don’t ever drink any alcohol. I don’t smoke anything. I avoid all conflict. And I’m starting to feel somewhat happy to be alive.

Lately, I’ve been saying “yes” to more and more social commitments, helping people with stuff, caring for my kids alone. But then I feel overwhelmed and I’m not sure I can chew all that I bit off.  I have to remember that as good and competent as I might feel today, the confidence is temporary. I mean, I suppose everything is temporary anyways.

Life is a journey with no map. There is no “you are here” button. You are where you are and that is where you are. Just hold on and try to enjoy the ride. Have you got something better to do?

I am the vampire of vegetables

I’m always surprised and a bit concerned when someone takes my advice. I guess I should be flattered, but usually I’m just like, “What’s wrong with them that they are actually listening to the shit I say. Should I even be friends with someone who is taking advice from me?”

So, call me crazy (ok) but today I look around and suddenly everyone is wearing their baby in a sling and talking about the many uses of baking soda and using mason jars on their blenders and not washing their hair…. weird. Maybe I’m more brilliant than I had previously imagined. I think I’m actually a bit like Jesus. Here I am just doing my thing, trying to make sense of my suffering and I end up shining a beam of inspiration into the lives of my people…. Wow. I’m awesome.

Anyway, if you are going to be inspired by anything I do, you should copy this one: Juicing (=drinking the juice of raw vegetables). It’s kinda like being a vampire of vegetables. Like I’m sucking the juice/blood out of the vegetables. And then I sparkle in the sunlight. (sorta)

I became enlightened to the pleasures of green juice a few months ago through a store in my new neighborhood. At The Raw Juice Company, I drank amazing delicious juices and learned so much from the owner Tony and all the helpful staff.

Once I had spent about $500 buying their juices daily, Tony (the owner) told me that I should probably start juicing at home. This is how much he believes in his business. He is a really nice guy. I still buy from him but now I’m not relying on him for my daily fix.

Once I started feeling the benefits of juicing, I fell in love. Personally, I feel much more energy, able to think much more clearly, happier (which is a lot for me to say), healthier, my skin is nicer and my joints don’t hurt anymore (I was having carpal tunnel and symptoms of arthritis). And…. I’ve finally lost weight. I feel so great when I drink the juice that I just don’t have the appetite for the unhealthy stuff (except for the chocolate… I’ll never give up the chocolate.). I actually emotionally miss my coffee but some days my taste buds just don’t want it.

Remember Jack Lalanne? The really old guy jumping around in the infomercials making all these crazy claims about how juicing keeps him young and strong and healthy. Well… I think he was right.

Juice is not a smoothie. When you juice a vegetable or fruit, you are extracting the vitamins and minerals without the fiber. (You will still get your fiber from your regular healthy diet.) This is important because your body can easily absorb all of the good stuff without having to work so hard to pull it out of the fiber.

Juicing is also amazing because in addition to making the vegetables more easily absorbed, you are consuming much more than you would otherwise. While it is possible to eat an entire raw kale plant, half a celery, a bunch of spinach, three raw beets and two large raw carrots in a day, I sure as hell wasn’t going to do it every single day.

But juicing is wasteful. Isn’t it? I had to come to terms with this one. When I thought of the idea of throwing away so much of a perfectly good vegetable, I felt really uncomfortable. But then I read that it takes almost 3 litres of water to make 1 litre of coca cola. That’s a lot of waste for something really unhealthy. But we (well, not me, I’m perfect) drink it without considering the water wastage. Also, Tropicana seems to be doing pretty well juicing all those oranges. eh?

So, I throw the pulp in my backyard compost and hope that I’m not hurting anyone by getting really healthy. My extreme privilege to be able to get all these extra nutrients is not lost on me. But I enjoy a lot of privileges, as a middle class North American, of having an excess food supply, so why not enjoy it in a way that is healthy?

But juicing is so expensive. Not really, my juicer works very well and is easy to clean. It cost us $100. The produce we buy at No Frills (I choose not to feel shame for not buying organic). A typical juice will use about .75cents of produce. Less than a cup of coffee.

But the juicer is so hard to clean. So are the pots and pans but you still cook dinner. Once you understand the pieces of your juicer (mine has 5), you can quickly clean it. I try to clean mine as soon as I’m done juicing but sometimes I leave it and clean it the next day before I juice. Like anything, with practice, you get better. I can now make a quick juice in the morning for myself and my husband and quickly clean the juicer and not be later than usual for work.

More questions:

There is a lot of helpful information about juicing on the Raw Juice Company website. Here:

http://www.therawjuicecompany.com/whyraw.html

http://www.therawjuicecompany.com/userguide.html

Getting started

Now that you’re committed to being just like me and juicing. What do you actually have to do?

Step 1: Buy a juicer. Any old juicer will do. Once you get into it, you’ll decide how much you want to invest in a high quality machine. But it’s okay to start with a cheap one (because I’m still using mine).

Step 2: Open your fridge and make some juice.

Part of making the juice taste really amazing is figuring out combinations of fruits and (mostly) veggies that you like. You can google ideas or look at the menus of other juice bars- the recipes are really just written on the bottle. Making your juice taste good is a matter of playing around with mixology and finding the right proportions of each.

But, really, as Tony said when I didn’t like the cabbage and carrot juice, “It’s healthy, just drink it.”

Here is the menu for the Raw Juice Company.

Below are some recipes that I like.

I try to think in terms of green juices (with primarily leafy greens), red juices (beets) and orange juices (carrots). I aim for one green and one other each day. This is an ideal. I also tend to keep it to 3 or less ingredients because I find it simpler. It’s also fun to name drinks.

Bloody mess  beets, strawberries, orange (peeled)
ABC  apples, beets, carrots
#pound beets, apple, lemon (peeled)

 

Chicken soup  carrot, celery (equal parts)
Carrot bliss  carrot, apple, ginger
Carrot sunrise carrot, apple, orange, lemon, ginger
Cabbage soup  carrot, cabbage, green apple, orange

 

My Evergreen  spinach, celery, lemon, Himalayan salt
My other Evergreen romaine, celery, lemon, Himalayan salt
The Barney  kale, grapes
Morning nourish  pear, kale, apple, celery
Green giant celery, any leafy green (kale or spinach or romaine), apple
Elphaba 1 bunch spinach, 1 green apple
v8 reboot tomato, celery, cucumber, carrot, parsley, green pepper, spinach
Wake me up before you go go celery, apple, lemon

 

Wellness shot (This is really gross… but it works) garlic, ginger, carrot, tumeric *juice the garlic and ginger first to let the carrot pull them through the juicer. stir in the tumeric powder after. warning: you won’t be able to kiss anyone for three days.
Fire shot cayenne pepper, orange juice
Tay Zatar (this isn’t juice but I swear by it. This tea will soothe your stomach, fight a cold, help with menstrual cramps and help bring on your period so don’t drink when you are pregnant) Put oregano in a tea ball. let steep in boiling water 3 mins.  drink.

This year I will be alive

I suppose some sort of New Years reflective post would be in order this week.

I’m not really sure where to begin. A year is just a number. But maybe it means more.

2014. How did the year go? The year began with some joy – taking my kids ice skating. The year ended with some joy – playing lego with my kids in our new house. In between, there has been more joy. I think that’s a good thing. I hesitate to admit this because I’m sure I’ve had very low points this year that may have marred someone else’s year. But for me, even my low points were higher than some of my higher points in recent years. The clouds are still dark and heavy but they are starting to let some light through and I’m getting stronger.

Highlights of 2014 include:

  • Becoming friends with my husband
  • Becoming a reliable source of comfort for my son
  • Enjoying playing with my children- remembering how to be silly
  • Getting reacquainted with my yoga mat
  • Succeeding at work and being offered a permanent job (as opposed to contract)
  • Banishing some of the guilt of not having a relationship with my parents
  • Finding a combination of medication that seems to work better
  • Buying a house and making it a home.
  • Mostly feeling confident that I exist.

As nice as it is to reflect on the good, it’s important to reflect on the bad as well. I need to be open about the bad to give context to the good. 2012 was my worst year. It was the year of crashing to the bottom in the dark – a year of feeling terribly alone, out of control and in pain. The year began with a near suicide attempt, a cry for help that no one heard, and ended with the last time I saw my parents and siblings in one room.

Highlights of 2012 included:

  • battling daily debilitating anxiety, (and still having to care for my children)
  • getting fired,
  • having several hypomanic episodes,
  • being sedated on antipsychotic meds
  • getting evicted,
  • having my pain ignored by my mother,
  • witnessing my mother break apart our family and my father stand by,
  • adding the suicide crisis hotline to my speed-dial.
  • realizing the extent of how unwell I truly was.

Yes. 2012 was definitely my worst year. I wanted so badly to be a proper mother but there was so much repression, fear and confusion in my brain.

My husband might think that 2013 was our worst year. 2013 was the year we uncovered all the muck and really faced the demons that I had to deal with. For me, this was a relief because I could understand what was going on. But for him, I think that it was terrifying because the demons were pretty fuckin scary.  I was also bouncing around between too high insanity and depression, trying new meds, unable to really care for the kids, obsessed with my thoughts and generally not very nice. I know he struggled to stick around that year but I am so very grateful that he did.

I think 2013 was his worst year. But I’d been living with those demons a long time, 2013 was actually my hardest year. I worked so so hard every single day. I could (sometimes) see a hint of light at the end and I understood that I had to get there to save my kids. Sometimes it was more steps back than forward but at least I was on a path as opposed to free-falling. I understood what I was dealing with and what kind of mountain I had to climb. Unfortunately, I can’t really make a list of the highlights of 2013, because I can’t remember much of that year. But I know that I am here today because of the work I did that year.

2012, 2013, 2014. Numbers that represent something. Progress in my understanding what it means to truly be alive.

In yoga class today, the instructor spoke about articulating an intention for the hour and even for the year. She said that her intention was to be free.  In constricting postures, like eagle pose, she asked us to find the freedom and space. My intention for this year is also to be free. I will try to be free in my body and in my life. I will allow myself to cut shackles and relationships that don’t work for me. I will strengthen my core, both physically and emotionally. I will trust my feet to hold me up and trust my right to a space in this world.

I will breath deeply and fluidly. I will stretch. I will love. In 2015, I will be alive.

May this be a year of shiny, healthy boundaries. Less guilt, more love!