Wednesday, 4 April 2018

The Dream That Sums Up My Life

I walk out of my childhood home, across the lawn, towards my current car, parked in the driveway. The yard and driveway are vividly clear as I lived in this house for about 16 years (I was about 2 when my parents moved in and I stayed there until I left for university - my parents stayed for a number of years after as well). I am walking to the car to get a binder I need for work. I am walking barefoot and the ground is wet. It feels squishy under my toes. I wonder why I didn't put shoes on.

As I approach the car, it is not that far, maybe 12 steps, I notice two things: the driver's side door is open, and I have parked really close to the neighbour's, I am sort of off the driveway on a bit on their grass.

I walk behind the car, around to the driver's side, get the binder and close the door.

I walk around the front of the car. There is probably less than 6 feet from the front of the car to the side gate that leads to the backyard.

Suddenly I am in water up to my shoulders. It is like I have stepped into a lake, but it is still so clearly this small spot on the driveway. I can see in the dining room windows on the south side of the house. I look around and I see what in my dream I call alligators, but in my waking state know were caimans. I see one, then a second, and maybe a third.  I clutch the binder (which is white - I dream in colour) to my chest and decide I must hurry toward the house. I take a step toward the house and I can't reach the ground.  The caimans are approaching. I continue to clutch the binder to my chest with my left hand (it did not occur to me that a binder of paper would be ruined by this amount of water in my dream). I really need this data for work, for the reports I need to be doing. I begin to splash/backstroke with my right arm, with the hopes of keeping the caiman away and to move me out of the water.

I wake up at this point, in a slightly panicked state. I dream like this all the time and have since I was about 18 months. I have actually gotten really good at just letting these dreams go and going back to sleep. But this night (which was Sunday night and I am writing this detail Wednesday so you can see how clear it was to me), I can't just go back to sleep. The meaning of the dream is too clear, I can't just pretend it is anything else or a weird fantasy. I feel like I am drowning at work. That is true. I am doing what I can to relieve this burden but while I have a mountain of paperwork thanks to the provincial governments new program, plus my actual job, plus some clients with very, very severe problem behaviours (and I am responsible for reducing them) and staffing issues, there is only so much I can do. I have had some time to actually do my job this week and I remembered how much I love parts of it!

Some of the symbols:
Wet bare feet - when working at home while Sam was recovering a delivery came. I didn't hear the knock at the door (why people can't use our doorbell is beyond me). I thought the dogs were barking at deer. By the time Sam was able to communicate to me that there had been someone there, they weren't at the door. I dashed through the garage to meet them. I couldn't get the guy's attention so I went out in the muddy driveway in my sock feet. Ironically the package was new shoes!

The white binder - I have recently replaced 2 of my client's binders with white ones. One I have just replaced has been a very stressful team recently.

The caiman's - I recently had a client in the Cayman's discontinue service - I think. They had said they would get back to me after a staffing change and never did. I did send a follow up, they paid me but said nothing else. It has been an unsatisfactory ending. At least I still have a wonderful client on the island!

The open car door - no idea - although my car is on my mind a lot as she has abut 247 000 km or 153 478 miles and I know I will need to replace her soon.

My childhood home - maybe because my parents were here

Drowning - it is one of my big fears. I grew up by a lake, my parents house was a walkable distance to Lake Huron (which is now their front door). Someone drown in that lake almost every summer. Also, as I mentioned I know I am drowning at times.

That is the dream that sums up my life!

Thursday, 15 March 2018

March Challenge - Update 2 - Reframing Failure

There is no nice way to put it, last week I was a big grumpy mess. I felt miserable. I had no patience for anything. I felt yucky. My guess is a combination of stress (which has been fairly under control for me these days but work is insane) and likely fighting one of the virus' that are plaguing everyone I know (knock on wood, I have not been that sick) just caught up with me. Everything seemed like too much. I added to my overwhelm by starting to be hard on myself for not getting my full outdoor time for 4 days. I came really close 2 of them, but the other 2 were not even close. 

As I started to beat myself up about it all, I remembered something a Blogger and Podcaster I follow, Cait Flanders said. She talked about how she met people who were on Shopping Bans (something Cait has done, you can read all about it at and they will have a slip up one day, and then just abandon the whole plan and maybe even binge shop to make up for it. Instead of celebrating the fact that they didn't shop for say 20 days, they get mad because of one purchase and throw the baby out with the bath water. 

So I got up Monday, feeling only slightly better (today I feel much more myself as I write this on Wednesday evening) and started again. So far, this week, I have hit my outdoor time. I am celebrating the fact that overall I have increased my outdoor time, even if it isn't every day.

To another day week of trying to be out more!

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

March Challenge - Update 1

Well, I have now completed 7 days of my March challenge, to spend one hour per day outside. I have to say, this has been the hardest challenge for me so far. While, the yoga challenge was physically harder, I am finding it surprisingly difficult to be outside for an hour. I have done it every day though! I find it easy to get 45-50 minutes as I walk my dogs, but those last 10-15 minutes are the hard one!

I think there are several reasons this is hard for me:
1) The weather has been colder than it was the end of February
2) Because there is still so much snow, when I take the dogs out, my world is small. I can't just wander the yard (we have enough to wander). It isn't as much fun just to be standing in the yard.
3) I am not naturally an outdoor person as an adult.
4) I have chosen a life that is too car dependent. The day I was outside the most was last Friday, when I went out with one of my community groups at night and had to take the bus. Walking to and from the bus stop and waiting for the bus gave me about 45 additional minutes of outdoor time.
5) We have also had the 7th cloudiest year on record. It is less motivating to be outside in the gloom.

I am hoping the weather will start to improve (although the forecast for the next 14 days looks like the temperatures will just be around freezing) and that will motivate me.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

March's Challenge

So far I have completed 2 successful challenges.
To recap:
January - 30 days of yoga (I am still doing yoga 3-4 times per week) and daily mediation (today marks day 60 of meditating)
February - gratitude

For March's Challenge I am going to spend an hour a day outside. 

I had time outside on my list, but thought I would do it later in the year (real spring/summer) but when said their March experiment was going to be time outdoors, I thought I would join them. 

The rules are simple: I need to spend at least an hour outside per day. 
Walking to and from my car does not count.
Walking between buildings at work doesn't count.
For time to count it has to be a minimum of 10 minutes. 

Everyday I will record how much time I spent outside. Once a week I will post it here. 

How I think I will do:
I think during the week will be easy, because I take the dogs for 45 minute or so walks in the morning. I have gotten out of the habit of weekend walks, so they will be harder. 
I don't suspect temperatures that will make outside impossible, although rain and wind may make it unpleasant. 

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

February Challenge Wrap Up

Somehow I missed a few items on my list so I added them to this one!

67. Cat litter to put on the ice so we could get the car out of the driveway
68. Brussel Sprouts
69. Red wine with friends
70. My car (which is nearing the end of its life)
72. Seat warmers
73. The wildlife that lives around our house
74. A warm face cloth
75. My strong legs
76. The clothes in my closet.
77. Opportunties to travel
78. Having a working garage door.
79. Sam
80. My family
81. My friends
82. My privilege
83. My brain
84. Glasses

That wraps up 28 days of gratitude. While I don't think I will necessarily write them down every day, I think I will continue to practice gratitude daily. I truly have a blessed life!

Thursday, 22 February 2018

February Challenge - Update 3

Last week I was asked, how has being grateful changed your life. Here is my short answer.

Being grateful hasn't protected me from never being grumpy or frustrated or overwhelmed but it does help me to reframe some of it, or at least keep it in perspective. Even though I generally write what I am grateful for in the morning, I think about it all day and usually have more than 3 things I am very grateful for in a day. I think gratitude, along with meditation have been very helpful in preventing the February blahs that normal leave me feeling like a big grumpy puddle.

Now back to the list:

43. Meditation to help me stay the appropriate amount of stressed in some situations
44. Sleeping in
45. Seeing the clouds from above
46. After 4 nights in a hotel, my bed
47. Having a nap on a work day.
48. Pjs
49. Photo share so I can see pictures of my niece and nephew as well as get work related documents
50. The National Arts Centre (even if I didn't enjoy the show) - I am grateful it is accessible to me
51. The grocery store
52. A good night's sleep
53. Wireless headphones
54. Playing in the snow with my dogs
55. Watching the sunrise
56. The heating pad
57. Hearing birds sing in the morning
58. My ices
59. The sound of rain
60. Having someone clean my house
61. My tattoos - they remind me of things that make me happy
62. My washing machine
63. My self-discipline
64. Stars
65. Garbage collection
66. It being light until around 6 pm (the days are getting longer!)
Number 45

Thursday, 15 February 2018

February Challenge Update 2

The Gratitude List Continued

22. Waking up before my alarm
23. Mitt warmers
24. Smell of a fire
25. Zaphod
26. Yoga
27. OJ
28. Dental Floss
29. Lunch out
30. Book stores
31. Being physically able to work out
32. Music - especially songs that transport you to a different time and make you smile
33. Safe flights in the freezing rain
34. Red wine
35. Treadmills in hotels
36. After speaking to families who are in true crisis - my entire life! (perspective is an important thing)
37. Tea
38. Time to read others blogs
39. A night with no one sleeping on my legs
40. Having leftovers to eat in my hotel room instead of having to deal with restaurants on Valentine's Day.
41. Chocolate peanut butter balls
42. Neck circles