For the past few weeks I have been working on a feng shui project with the generous help of a friend from the forums. She was nice enough to offer to share her extensive knowledge of feng shui with me and I am excited to tap into her expertise to work on my new room and house this summer! Already I am learning so much from her feedback and from my own reading in books and on the internet. Check out the feng shui discussion in the forum.
Sante_j recently wrote a blog on feng shui. While I admire her vigor in expressing her view, I just don’t see things in such a strict way. Why assume that the great thinkers and artists she mentions chose imbalance and were therefore great? While I believe that NOTHING is ever in balance, isn’t it the SEEKING of balance (or “harmony” or “right” or “better”) that produces greatness? No one who is a “master” in some field begins as one. True masters learn the guidelines and techniques of their art and use these tools for their own extraordinary self-expression. The paintbrush does not create a masterpiece, it is simply a conduit for the painter.
So, I think rather than being restrictive, feng shui is a tool that encourages creativity and individual expression. Feng shui provides guidelines and a structure for creating a harmonious home just like the BTD does for creating a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Many people see the BTD (or any other popular diet or lifestyle strategy) as being too restrictive, but my experience has been that learning about this lifestyle, and natural medicine in general, has challenged me to go beyond what was easy or convenient and instead step up and learn what is RIGHT for me. It provided a structure to learn the best foods, exercise, and lifestyle for me as an individual and the reward is a healthy, happy outlook that I might not have achieved otherwise. Just like I have tools to help me achieve my goals for health, feng shui is a tool to help me achieve my goal of a harmonious and personalized environment. Feng shui is a set of guidelines, not hard and fast rules. It is up to the user to go beyond “following the rules” to become an artist and to apply this information to their unique situation.
Today I was working on possible floor plans for my room and thinking about what colours and decorations I want to use. If I was not considering feng shui principles, my room would look nice enough, but I definitely wouldn’t have put as much time and effort into it. Learning about feng shui is so interesting that I am now challenging myself to be more thoughtful and creative. Because of this effort, I have come up with new ideas on furniture arrangement and how to use pieces I already own (and love) creatively to make this space truly mine. The result is going to be far more harmonious and personalized specifically BECAUSE I have feng shui guidelines at my disposal.
The use of any tool depends on the user – guidelines may exist, but the use of them by a unique individual is what makes the product art.
The definition of compassion is: sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it. Compassion is a wonderful thing and I have benefited from an abundance of it this past week.
The latest in the long list of changes in my life this year is that my relationship with someone for whom I cared deeply ended. The fact that this relationship ended is not a surprise in itself, but the timing was not expected. And while I am sad that it had to end, I think that I am likely more upset about the potential that this relationship had, but was not realized.
Whenever something hurtful happens to me, there is always at least a small part of me that feels like the world should stop, because somehow my problems are larger and more important than anything else, which is of course not true. However, when people show me as much compassion and support as they have lately, it really helps me to gain perspective and remember that the world is a wonderful place. Knowing that people care about you and that you are valued is the best feeling in the world. I am so grateful for all the kind words and favours that so many people have shown me this week. This experience has made me realize how important compassion is and that my lesson from this is that I can and should show more compassion towards others. I can pick myself up and lend my strength to people who need it.
Sorry for the lack of blogs lately, but until June I have very limited access to the internet – I can’t get a signal in my room, and I can only get a weak or intermittent signal in the common room. Of course, when I’m in my room I can think of a million things I want to read about, look up, etc. on the internet, but once I am actually online, I can’t remember anything! So, this is going to be a miscellaneous update on what I’ve been up to…
First of all, I have to comment on how amazing the weather has been lately – usually it snows at least once during April in Canada (according to some weather guy I heard), although most people seem to forget this year to year and thus act SHOCKED when it does. I don’t think it has snowed this April, but there are still 10 days left and anything can happen. Anyway, even if it isn’t snowing, I think the normal temperature for this time of year is 12-15 degrees celsius, but for the last few days it has gone up to 18-22 degrees! And it has been beautiful and sunny! Hello blue sky, I haven’t seen you in awhile! So, I’m enjoying the weather by getting out as much as I can (and totally overloading on my vitamin D after the dark winter) and by writing this blog as I sit and look at the lovely blue sky and the big fat pine trees…
I don’t know if people in other places do this (I think they don’t, because it is crazy, but correct me if I’m wrong), but in Canada, as soon as there is more than the usual amount of sun, people act like it’s the middle of summer! Last week and the week before we had some sunny days, but there was still a WINDCHILL and you still needed a winter jacket (not to mention closed toed shoes) to be comfortable outside. The temperature was not that far above freezing… However, inevitably you see people all decked out like it is JULY! I’m talking about flip flops, tank tops, short skirts, shorts, etc. When it is STILL WINTER! Now, I understand being excited about impending spring, but realistically these people cannot be warm wearing this stuff outside unless they are running a marathon. So, you see these people shivering, looking very uncomfortable, walking by other people who are wearing winter coats, some even wearing scarves and hats! It’s very funny to observe. This goes on throughout April and May and makes for some huge extremes in how the public is dressed on any given day. And yes, I have been guilty of this myself, but I can still enjoy the humour…
Last Wednesday I had a paper due for General Chemistry, for which my topic was the process for making ghee and its health benefits, focusing on as much of the chemistry as I could wrap my head around at this point. Originally, I had chosen a topic from a list the professor provided, but then I had the idea to do it on ghee (including creating a photo documentation of me making ghee and a subsequent sample to hand in!). How cool is it that I get to write papers on such interesting topics?
On Monday I had my General Chemistry exam, which went very well for me. I’m hoping the next class I have (Organic Chemistry) is at least a bit more challenging, but I guess I should be grateful that I am doing so well. I studied way too much, more to try to prepare myself for September (when things get crazy) rather than for this particular exam.
I have had some problems in the last year or two with my knee and feet and lately I have been worried about this a bit more. It started back in 2004 with ITB pain, but then I also developed some instep pain, only when I ran. I had some muscle imbalances which have been improved a lot, but my right arch is also more fallen than my left, which is the cause of the instep and right knee pain. I try to run at least twice per week, but I usually leave a day in between. This week I ran 2 days in a row, as well as walked a lot, and by the end of the second day my foot was swollen and sore. There has been a thread about chiropractic care and other types of body work that I have been reading – I did see a chiropractor late last year who said I didn’t need chiropractic adjustments (according to her, my issue is not “structural”) but did order me some orthotics that have helped a lot. I try to wear them as much as possible, but running is still hard on my feet. I’m wondering if there is more I can be doing to solve this issue, as I don’t want to have permanent damage to my arches for the rest of my life.
I need to go in to see an intern at the clinic here so I can get some massage and see what they think about my feet/knees situation. I only have to pay $8.50 (Canadian) per visit! The Chiropractic College is pretty close to here too, so maybe I can scoot up there for a cheap chiropractic consultation too. I’m also going to look into Rolfing and the Hellerwork, both of which I am willing to pay for if they will help me, but other ideas are welcome!
So, I have successfully moved into residence (for the next 2 months) and I am in my 4th week of my first part-time course. I haven’t written a blog about school yet because there are so many thoughts running around in my head and I haven’t had time to organize them yet. But today, I feel like I have something to say.
It is so amazing how different the people here are from people that I am used to being around. Not that the people I know/used to know aren’t great, but the people here are definitely not ordinary – I will try to explain what I mean by that…
In my first week of school, the BTD came up at lunch with some of my classmates. As it turns out, most people have heard of the BTD and many follow it to some degree or another. A couple of us follow it pretty closely and have done so for several years (I’ve been doing it for 4 years now). One of my classmates who had not previously heard of it was so interested after this discussion that she bought LR4YT on the way home from class and then asked me to type her blood for her that afternoon! Regardless of whether she decides that it is a benefit to her or not, I am so impressed that she was so enthusiastic to try something new!
There is a definite difference in the attitude of people I have met at this school that I am not used to experiencing. My classmates have such diverse backgrounds and knowledge that everyday there is the opportunity to learn about something new. I’m sure that is true whenever you are around new people, but in this situation everyone is also so open to learning and they seem to naturally show respect for differing views. Not that most people are not respectful, but I do think that most people (including me, at least some of the time) tend to be judgemental, particularly when the discussion veers outside of the ordinary. There is NO feeling of judgement here, which is very strange at first!
In fact, from my first contact with this school, I noticed that everyone here (staff, students, faculty, etc) is almost eerily nice! This place is like a little utopia, where everyone is beautiful, thin, healthy, peaceful, secure, and NICE. When I came in to drop off forms or cheques, people knew my name and welcomed me like I was a friend. When I walk through the halls, strangers smile at me and say hello! The staff here will offer to go out of their way to help you, whether it’s with moving, finding something in the library, or helping with a technology issue. The other students on my floor have also gone out of their way to welcome me and get to know me.
So, I am definitely not in my old world anymore, but so far the new one is lovely.
Thanks for all the comments and posts on the forum re: my last blog. It’s hard for me to ask for help and to admit that I don’t have things “buttoned down”, but sometimes I need to hear my own advice from other people and get a new perspective. Thanks!
On Tuesday I saw a few bachelor apartments that were all nice, in great neighbourhoods, with good landlords. However, even though I was able to negotiate a lower rent on my favourite of the three, it just isn’t realistic financially to get my own place when I have the option of living closer to school for less money. This is a viable option, but not the best choice given the benefits below.
Yesterday, I went meet 3 girls (all have the same first name – crazy!) who are looking for a 4th to share their townhouse near school. The house and the girls were really nice, the rent is affordable, and it is 5 minutes walk from campus and the subway. Plus, they all seemed to like me and would like me to move in. How could I say no to this? Yes, I want to have my own place, but this is a much better situation in a lot of ways. I left them a message this morning to accept, I’m just waiting for them to confirm. I can’t move in there until June, so I will stay in residence in the mean time and make it work.
Needless to say, the past few days have been very stressful for me. The best cure for that (for a type O anyway) is EXERCISE! I managed to get a run in on Monday morning, but was not able to get to the gym until today. I already feel much better. I’ve been having trouble sleeping because I’m thinking so much and, like a typical type O person, I like to be active and solve problems NOW (even if it is 3am). Last night I even got a nose bleed (only the 3rd in my whole life!) and that told me that I have to do a better job of managing my stress through all the changes I’m currently experiencing.
There are other things which can help a type O person release stress. Here are the techniques outlined in LR4YT re: anger management for type O, which I think should actually be called stress management for type O:
1) Take a time-out. Take a walk, drink a glass of water, whatever you need to do. Wait for your anger to dissipate before tackling the problem.
2) Express yourself in writing. It is impossible to stay in a physical state of anger while writing.
3) Identify your anger triggers. Do they result from unrealistic expectations, childish attitudes, or mistaken ideas about the motivations of others?
4) Focus on how you feel, not how others are behaving. This will give you more power in a situation.
5) Find an activity equivalent to counting to 10.
6) Learn problem solving techniques. Anger is often the result of feeling a loss of control. Become intent on solving the problem, not on your rage.
7) Talk to someone you trust. Release stress by engaging in a supportive conversation.
The techniques I use most are #2, #5, and #7. I always feel better if I write about my problem and I often use a case writing format to figure things out – background, issue, options, pros/cons, recommendation. This is where my last blog came from – I started writing to get the thoughts out of my brain and it turned into a blog – thanks to the magic of the internet!
My equivalent to counting to 10 is alternate nostril breathing, which I every night before bed. It helps clear my mind and silence the “inner voice”. Most of the time it works great, but sometimes my mind keeps racing.
Finally, talking to people always makes me feel better and helps me sort things out. The number one person who gets called up for this is my dad, whom I’ve called multiple times per day for the past 3 days! Thankfully he is patient and makes himself available to me whenever I need him. I’ve also talked to my boyfriend (who was kind enough to look over my budget with me, make me dinner, and hug me when I cried) and my friend C, who is just great to talk to about anything.
So there you have it, one more thing settled, 5000 more to go!