The karmic universe and me

I had a really interesting day yesterday. Me and my family boarded a very early morning (mouse infested) train to Mumbai to spend the day with my Dad’s Reiki Master.

My Dad got into reiki a few months ago, initially to heal himself but now he is spreading the reiki love and healing many other things including us and our minor ailments. I didn’t really know much about reiki until a few months ago, other then it being some sort of spiritual alternative medicine where by energy is channelled through a persons hands to heal stuff. I think it’s a bit like what Mr Miyagi does to Daniel Son at the end of the first Karate Kid movie when he gets injured during the All-Valley Karate tournament. Daniel Son then goes on to defeat the baddy from the Cobra Kais and wins the tournament….but that is nothing to do with anything. I just love that movie! 🙂

Anyway, where was I?! Yeah, so we decided we’d all like to meet this guy and find out more about reiki and whilst there get our chakras balanced. Chakras are energy nodes in our body that run from the base of our spine to the top of our head. Each chakra corresponds to distinguishing characteristcs and an aspect of consciousness. I don’t want to go into too many details here and explain all there is to know about your chakras but basically if your chakras are blocked or out of balance it can lead to certain illnesses or mental imbalances. So we wanted to get ours checked, unblocked and get the energy flowing just as it should be.

The process was some what strange. I had to lie down while different chakra stones were placed on me and the healing hands got to work. At first I expected to just slip into a relaxed state and eventually fall asleep. But that didn’t happen. It’s hard to put into words really. I was aware of the noises and what was going on around me even though I had my eyes closed but at the same time my mind was also elsewhere. A bit like being in a semi dream state. And what felt like 10 minutes actually lasted 45!

After this he explained that my root chakra was partially blocked and because of this I may have been experiencing fear and low levels of confidence. He was pretty spot on in to be honest. I’m feeling a million times better then say 6 months ago but with me going home next week without my folks, the thought of being on my own and facing the dreaded job hunt etc. has got me a little scared. As for the confidence. Same. I’ve got enough to get me thinking positively again, but I think I’m still  a bit of a way off from being completely happy in myself. He also said that my crown chakra  was almost completely open. Apparently a blocked crown chakra can lead to depression. Funny that!

Then it got really strange. He said that during the process he could see into my mind. Snapshots of memories. A look into my black box if you like. But not just of my life now. Nope, he said he could see into my past life as well. Now as Hindus we believe in reincarnation and in karma. What goes around, comes around…in this life or the next. But what he told me next was well spooky! He told me about the kind of person I had been in my past life. The things I had done and how it connected to my life now. Let’s just say I wasn’t a very nice man….yes I was a man. Again I don’t want to go into specifics as its more personal then I would like to get but according to him the things that happened to me that subsequently dragged me deeper and deeper into a black hole over the last few years was quite simply pay back for the person I was then.

So you’re probably thinking why did I believe any of it? How can it be true?  Well he knew stuff. Things about me from before and stuff that is happening now or in the next few weeks. There were links. Big ones. And things just seemed to make sense all of a sudden. He also added that things are about to start turning around and I’ve got good things ahead. So that made me feel better. Now this is not to say I’m now taking every word he said as gospel. Yes I do believe things happen for a reason but I also believe that we still have a certain amount of control over these so called things.

I think I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent again haven’t it?! I suppose where I’m going is that I’m finding comfort in this spiritual healing. The yoga, the meditation and now the reiki. All of them are about using our energy in different ways to bring us to a point of physical and mental stability and to connect us to the universe. It’s not for everyone and to be honest I never thought it was for me. But if it works then I’m going with it. As for the past life stuff. Well I often said to myself when I was going through my dark days that I must have been a terrible person in my previous life. How much truth there is in all of this I don’t know. But if it is true? Well, what more can I say except that karma most certainly is a b*tch!


Shaena vs Food

Have you ever seen that TV show, Man vs Food? The guy who travels across America exploring different food cultures and hunting out unique things people like to eat?! Each episode involves a food challenge where he takes on a 5lb sandwich or something equally ridiculous! Well I watch that show…I watch a lot of food shows. I love food TV. In fact I love food magazines, websites….hell, I JUST LOVE FOOD!!

I mean we have to eat, right? Food is fuel. We don’t eat….we die. Eventually. But how much food do we I really need? Well according to my BMR, 1420 calories worth to be exact.  For those of you that don’t know, BMR is the amount of calories you would burn every day if your body was at rest. So basically if I ate that amount every day and did sweet FA I would stay as I am……plump, shall we say?! But I don’t want to stay plump and obviously I don’t stay in bed all day every day, (those days are gone haha!). So if you take into account daily activities your BMR would increase depending on how active you are. And then you factor in your goal weight and after a few annoying equations you get a whole different figure. But lets keep it simple and do as Michelle Bridges says…..12oo calories if I want to lose weight! WTF???

Ok so it’s not actually that bad. In fact I’ve been trying to stick to that the last few weeks of my holiday. Some days I manage ok, others I’m quite literally licking the plate clean to get every ounce of yummy food goodness into my belly. But I am slightly confused about this 1200 calories rule. I read somewhere that 1200 is the general number of calories woman should stick to if they want to lose weight without damaging their health. Ok that’s fine…but what if you are burning half of that working out? Do you replace what you burn or don’t you? What is healthy and what is not? Answers on a postcard please….

Here’s what I think I’m going to do. I’m not going to obsess over the calories. I’ll keep an eye on them, yes. But my aim here is to eat healthier…the weight loss will just be a bonus. So how does a foodie like me go about changing her ways and attitude towards food? How do I swap my steak and chips for grilled fish and veggies? I guess this is my challenge. My (Wo)man vs Food.

Well according to Mish (that’s what everyone calls her apparently) its all about portion control and percentages. And obviously about making good food choices. Portion control is one of my biggest down falls. I have an inability to cook for the right amount of people. If I’m cooking for myself, I still make enough to feed a family of four. If I’m cooking for friends or family….well, I could probably invite the neighbours round as well. When it comes to food I definitely need to apply the less is more approach because the more there is the more I eat…..and there are still leftovers to take for lunch the next day! So how do I know how much is the right amount? I don’t know yet but I’m hoping the 12wbt  team will teach me 🙂

Nemesis number two! Carbohydrates. I am a carb whore. Yes I admit it. Potatoes, pasta, rice….my meals are incomplete if one of those does not exist on the plate. What was that diet craze from 10 or so years ago….Atkins?? I would have failed by the first meal. We obviously need carbs in our diet….they are a good source of fuel. But even I know there are good carbs and bad carbs….and I know I don’t need the amount that I eat. So again portion control and percentages. Apparently your average meal should contain only 25% carbs……oh, ok then! And that doesn’t mean a portion of chips every time!

At the moment all of this sounds like effort. But I’m hoping that will change. Like I said before I love food and I love to cook. So I just need to make better food choices and cook yummy yet healthy. I know it’s possible and I know I can do it. And who says that there isn’t room for the odd treat. I read about another rule last week which I think I will also adopt. The 80/20 rule. Eat well 80% of the time and allow yourself to indulge for the rest. I mean who wants to be the miserable one sat at a dinner party chewing on a bit of lettuce? Not me.

So this is my plan. I’m going to re-educate myself about food. I’m going to learn to cook new things in new ways. I’m going to remember P&P (portions and percentages) and finally…I’m going to remember 80/20 and always keep a space for steak and chips! 😉

Now and then….

I woke up today feeling happy. So much happier then I have felt in a long time and I suddenly realised why. My family.

My little sister arrived in India yesterday to join us for a holiday. Her visit coincides with my last 2 weeks here.The entire car journey home from the airport (which incidentally is 5 long hours!!) it just felt so good to have her here. And last night we shared a room and although she was dying to sleep after a very long journey from Auckland she stayed up  with me and we talked for ages just like we used to. It felt good. And then I remembered this time last year….the last time I saw her. The last time I spent time with all my family. It wasn’t like this. It was all wrong.

Last February I hit probably one of my lowest points and I went to stay with my sister and her family on the Gold Coast. Whilst I was there my parents and my younger sister came to join us. We’d had this little family reunion planned for some time but by the time it came around the situation was very different to how we planned it. I was not me. I was not the daughter and sister that they remembered. I was sad, quiet, even angry at times and I shut them out. They were all there trying desperately to help me and they couldn’t. They didn’t know how and I didn’t know how to let them.

It makes me sad to think how it must have been for them. Watching a loved one suffer and not being able to doing anything to ease their pain. And to make it even harder I was not a pleasant person to be around. Frankly I was a bit of a b*tch! I didn’t want to be though and I wasn’t angry at them…I was angry at the world…I was angry with myself.

And now? Well, I’m so happy to say things are different. Good different. Just as they should be.

I came to India with my parents at the end of October. Admittedly it was still a rocky start as my healing had not yet begun. But after I came back from yoga camp normality began to restore itself. I started to enjoy being around them again. We talked, laughed and generally just started acting like a family again. At Christmas my sister and her family came over from Australia. It was a great 3 and half weeks. I loved being with them all. My sister and I gossiped…a lot. I was joking around with my brother in law again, and I loved loved loved my time with my nephews. The cuddles, the games of cricket and table tennis and the baking!! Following their very tearful departure, my parents and I went on a little trip to get away for a few days. A holiday in a holiday you could say! It was great. We had a fab time just wandering around this little town, seeing the sights, doing some shopping and just generally enjoying each others company.

I am so glad to have gotten through everything and to have things back to normal. We might be all parting ways again in a few weeks but I am  grateful that I’ve had this chance to spend time with them all. So now I intend to make the most of every last second of my final weeks with them and never take this time and this feeling for granted again.

I am one very lucky lady! 🙂

No turning back!

It’s done. It’s official. I will be running (or staggering) 10k through the streets of London Town this July in aid of SANE.

I’m not going to lie. If I think too much about it I get that stomach churning fear start to build up inside of me. But then I stop and say to myself, “I can totally do this” and that fear turns into excitement.

So for me it’s time to train. And for you my friends, it’s time to cough up. I will be eternally grateful for whatever cash you can spare.

Thanks in advance!!! 🙂

Bad hair day

I went to the hairdressers a few days ago. It was an interesting experience. What was meant to be a little trim turned into what seemed to be a very inexperienced young girl hacking big chunks out of my hair. I speak the language and I thought she understood what I was asking for….but no, it appears not! And of course once the scissors remove the first colossal chunk it’s hard to turn back really. So now I look kinda odd. I sent a picture to Emma, my friend in Perth. Her words “wow, that is different…haha!” :/

Oh well….it’ll grow back I suppose!

What I noticed after was that I didn’t really think all that much about it. How my lovely long locks that had taken me so long to grow had now been snipped off and swept away. In fact I had a bit of a laugh about it. I mean, it was kinda funny. Then today I was thinking how a few months ago this would have been a total disaster. I probably would have had a bit of a cry about it. Another thing to knock my confidence and make me build those walls around me that little bit higher and that little bit stronger.

This by all accounts was a massive improvement.

It got me to thinking about bad days in general. Because I might feel ok today and even tomorrow but inevitably a bad day will present itself at some point. To be honest I’ve had a few moments in the last couple months where I’ve felt a little lonely, sad or just a fed up but I think these have been fairly normal in comparison to say, 6 months ago. A little bit of yoga and meditation and sometimes even a good cry has got it out of my system and the balance has been restored. But what if it’s more then a moment? What if the moment turns into a few days, a few weeks…or even longer? What do I do then?

So I decided to ask an expert. An expert and a friend. My friend Vicki is thankfully both and gave me some excellent advice. Quite simply. Make a plan. Document the warning signs, problem situations and solutions to help keep me on track. It makes sense really, if I stumble, revert to the The Plan!

I love this. The Plan. A way to stay in control and tackle those “black hole days” as Vicki called them, should they occur. I mean of course I hope they don’t. Because when they do, they are far from fun. I don’t want to go back to the days when you lay awake at night with with a million thoughts racing through your head. The “what if’s and why’s” that can’t be changed. And then all of sudden it’s time to get up and you realise you maybe slept for 2 hours tops so it takes every ounce of your being to get ourself out of bed to face the day. And if you manage to face it, to the very few people that know what you are going through you are but a lifeless soul dragging yourself from A to B. But for the majority you hide behind a mask of happiness so no one asks the dreaded question…”How are you?”. Because all you really want to say is…”I’m dying inside” (but obviously you don’t).

Yes, I definitely hope those days are behind me. So it’s time for The Plan 🙂

You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream

Getting a bit ahead of myself today. But I’ve found since emerging from that dark hole I got sucked into, I’ve been a bit like that lately. Wanting to get on. Do stuff. Live.

Anyway tomorrow as part of the 12wbt pre season tasks, I’m setting my goals. My weight loss goals, my health goals and my fitness goals. Sounds scary…well to me anyway. I’ve never really set goals before. In school and work, yes. In life…not really. Well I did once…I gave myself a year to move abroad. Boarded a plan to Perth, Australia 5 days after my 30th birthday. Amazing. But obviously as I’m no longer there, that didn’t quite work out the way I planned!

I digress…sorry! So I know I have a bunch of weight to lose but I also know that my main aim is to get fit and healthy. Like, really fit and healthy. Not just to the point where you go to the gym 4 times a week and eat a few salads because you know you should or because you’ve got a big event on the horizon and desperately want to look fabulous in that new dress. No, not like that. I want to love it. I want to live it. I want it to be part of my life so much that I’m on auto pilot and it just gets done (and of course as I result, I look damn fine in that dress 😉 )

But I know I have to have it in me. I need to want it. And this time I really do. Badly. It’s all part of my bigger goal to be the best possible version of me. It’s going to happen. I will make it!

I’ve set some other goals this year too. Some I want to have completed by the end of the year….others have a longer deadline. A bucket list of sorts I suppose. I won’t reveal them all yet but as part of all this getting fit for life business I told myself I wanted to do something that not only benefited me, but others too. So, drum roll please……….I’m signing up for a 10k run in London this summer.

Now a lot of people including a lot of my friends would see a 10k run as a stroll in the park. Something they do every week just because they can. But the simple fact is, I can’t. I don’t run. Never have. It’s not something that comes naturally to me so I know I’m going to have to train like a machine! My sister and I did a 5km run for Cancer Research a few years back. It was ok, I didn’t collapse in a heap or anything but I also didn’t find it all that easy. But I did do it, so this year I wanted to go bigger.

And the doing bit for others part? I’ll be doing the run to raise money for SANE. They’re a UK based charity for mental health. They do amazing work raising awareness, doing research and providing much needed support for illnesses that are so widely misunderstood. I mean I’ve been there, I am there and sometimes I still don’t understand.

So there you have it. My goals. for the next 6 months anyway. It feels good to have these plans. Something challenging to work towards. And  most importantly, because I want to, not because someone is telling me to.

Yay….go me! 🙂

We accept the love we think we deserve

Valentines day. A day some of us love, but also a day I think most of us hate. Maybe that’s too strong a word but I do think the day has got a bad rep. People grumbling about their significant other failing to make an effort…again, dashed hopes when there are no red envelopes in the mail and fake smiles when the person who sits next to you at work gets a delivery of flowers and chocolates. Ok so it can be a little bit depressing….unless you look at it differently.

As I do every year, I was dreading today. But a good friend reminded me that today doesn’t have to be about having a partner to shower you with gifts and flowers or finding out you have a secret admirer. It can just be about you and the people in your life that you love. And she was right. I’ve spent most of today sending out messages of love to people I care about. And you know what? It feels really good.

But I think the most important person you should focus on today and all other days is yourself. You are the only one who can dictate who much love you have in your life. My old flat mate and I were watching a movie last year and one of the characters said this line, “we accept the love we think we deserve”. I know in my case this was true. And like people say…who’s going to love you if you don’t love yourself?! Granted we do have certain people in our life who love us no matter what. Unconditional love….it’s a great thing! But I think most of us are looking for that little bit extra….aren’t we?!

So how do you go from barely liking yourself to loving yourself? Good question…I’m still trying to figure it out! I had gotten to the point where I really didn’t like myself at all. I didn’t think I was good for anything or anyone. My confidence and belief system were shattered. If I really wanted to, I could fake it, but honestly?! There was nothing left. Even some of my friends have said to me since they were worried I might not find it again. I wasn’t even worried. I had given up.

So how did I get to the point where I wanted to start trying again? At first when I tried I didn’t try for myself. I did it for the people that cared about me. But it doesn’t work like that. So I stumbled. You really have to want it for yourself.  And to do that I think you have to believe that you can love yourself again. I tried many things during my days on the dark side…..counselling, psychs, emotional freedom therapists and meds. Some worked for a short time but in general they were a big fat fail. I’m not saying they don’t work at all…..they were just not for me. I think for me I just needed something different. No chemicals making me feel (or not feel) a certain way, or nobody telling you to change the way you see yourself. So off I went to yoga camp!

I have to admit I didn’t really know what I was expecting from it. But it worked. 14 days of yoga, meditation and ayurvedic therapies and I was all set for my new journey. It’s hard to explain why or how it worked for me. They say yoga can help cure the mind, body and soul. And after my 2 weeks there I definitely believed it. I felt ready to let go, wipe the slate clean and rebuild. I let myself off the hook for things that had happened and could no longer be changed and I let myself breathe again. I felt rejuvenated 🙂

And I guess I just took it from there. I found myself laughing and smiling again without having to pretend. I started to enjoy being around people, doing things I enjoyed. I suppose I must have liked what I saw and felt so, I decided I needed to make some changes. I wanted to say goodbye to the person I once knew and be a better me. The best possible version of me I could be.

And that brings me to where I am now. When you love someone you want the best for them, so why should it be any different for yourself?! So from now on I’m doing good things for me….because I kinda like me now 🙂

I have totally forgotten the point of this post. Oh yeah….Valentines day. Don’t be sad, don’t be grumpy, just spread the love. Make someone smile today, even if it’s just yourself 😉

Happy Valentines Day 🙂

My cheering squad

Today’s 12wbt pre-season task was called “Introduce Yourself”. It was mainly about getting to know other members of the team so you can all start supporting each other through the program.

This got me thinking about my support team. The people in my life who have been there, are still there and will hopefully be there in the future…to infinity and beyond 😉

Family. Yeah mine are pretty great as I mentioned before. We love each other sick…enough to actually make you want to be sick. Lol! My parents are retired now and spend their time between the UK and India. My older sister, her husband and my two gorgeous nephews live on the Gold Coast and my baby sis lives in Auckland. All I can say is thank the lord for Skype!! We may be dotted all over the globe, but we are as close as a family can get.

Friends. I get emotional when I think about my friends. The people that don’t have to be but choose to be in your life. I’m very lucky as I’ve gathered a lot over the years. Of course, some come and go but there are those bloody brilliant ones that stick around….through a lot. My friends know who they are so I don’t need to mention anyone in particular but I just want to say a few things about the ones that carried me through my visit to the ‘dark side’ this last couple of years. They believed in me when I didn’t, they picked me up when I fell (sometimes quite literally) and they suffered through my pain with me. For that I love them and will never be able to thank them enough.

I mean no disrespect to my family of course. They by all accounts are my greatest support system….my back bone, the pillars that keep me standing and it scares me to think where I would be without them.

I think this post is turning out to be more of acknowledgement to all the great people in my life. So apologies as I didn’t expect it to go this way….but sometimes these things just need to be said. These people are why I’m here today and I think they deserve a mention as without them this journey would not be happening. So for those of them that read this….you guys rock and I love you! 🙂

“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then”

So why am I here? Because of yesterday….and the day before that.

I’m currently sat in my family home in India on day 111 of my “holiday”. It’s not really a holiday but more of an extended break which my parents decided would be a good idea considering the events of the past year.

Like I said, I was a different person then. Not a happy one…not an anything one really. Numb. Flat. Hopeless. Depression does that to you. It takes the world you once knew and zaps all the life out of it leaving you sat on the couch, drinking another bottle of wine and eating curry and rice for the fifth time that week. But it’s ok, it was home-made, not a take away and I saved money by staying in…yeah right! Anyway…this was my life for way too long and by using those little excuses every day I convinced myself that I was doing ok. But I wasn’t….I was drowning.

Friendships got ruined, my career took a massive hit and my family….my poor family. Sometimes I wonder if I even deserve them! Cue Mum and Dad. Parents are great sometimes….mine especially. They threw me a lifeline and whisked me away to India. A place where you have all the time in the world to think, reflect and most importantly….heal.

So getting back to why I’m here…sorry, I get distracted! After a few months of soul searching and two weeks at yoga camp I have resurfaced and I’m ready to get back on dry land. I’ve got a few weeks left  before I head back to the UK but already I’ve started taking back control. Starting with my health. I love to cook. Some people might think this is a good thing but when you spend over a year hiding away in the kitchen, cooking ridiculous amounts of comfort food and topping up your glass of wine as you go it’s definitely not a good thing! So first things first, I want to get fit and healthy and shed those depression lbs!! I was chatting to my sister over the Christmas holidays about the whole idea and she mentioned Michelle Bridges to me. Of course I’d heard of 12wbt after my years living in Perth  but I’d never really given it a second thought before. So I started investigating and after scouring through success stories and the fb page and chatting to friends who had done it I thought “hell, why not…I’ll give it a bash”.

So here I am. Pre-season. Ready to get started 🙂

But this is just step one…..I’ve many more steps to climb and godammit I’m gonna make sure I get to the top!

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