Tag Archives: experience

Believe Your Own BullShit

We humans are experts at perpetuating our own patterns. For better or for worse. Usually against our own benefit…

So much so that often we don’t even believe ourselves when our true selves are trying to lead us onto a better path.

Unsurprisingly, only two lessons back into riding on a more dedicated level then I have in years and I’m finding philosophical life lessons being thrown at me left and right.

Coming back into the game after a few years off, riding a much different style of horse then what I’ve worked with before, I’m being confronted with all my old baggage.

While I’m not covered in as much rust as I thought I would be, old habits are dying hard. It’s like a Pandora’s box of baggage has been opened and needs to be organized and hung out to dry.

Warming up today the words that floated to me from the eyes on the ground suggested that I am riding like I’m riding a young horse. Supportive, encouraging, trying to lead the way and being overly accommodating. I was presented with an amazing analogy for my go to leadership style. Teacher all the way- lead by example and empower. This style works sometimes for me- but not all the time, and actually as of late- rarely. The words that followed next smacked me in the head with another relatable flow of logic. You need to tell and direct, not suggest and expect.

I’ve seen in the last while that my greatest strength and weakness is seeing the absolute best in those around me. Empath to the core- I can see you’re greatest potential before I even know you’re last name… and that often gets in the way of really being helpful in leadership/teaching/management.

I’m now riding a horse that has the power and ability to do whatever I ask. Tell him the plan and he will get it done. However, suggest an idea and expect him to collaborate on a plan? Not very effective with his archetype. He really is a mirror for many of the other situations I’ve approached with my habitual way of wanting others to empower themselves through situations (be them personal, relationship, or professional).

When I was directed to quit letting him decide where we were going and tell him what we were doing and how we were doing, something clicked.

Through all my confidence and leadership ability- I do indeed have a tendency to defer decision making. I personally learn through experience, and want every else to learn about themselves in a similar way. In a past relationship I did exactly what I was doing during this ride.. deferred direction to the other, assuming growth would occur from them having to figure things out and allowing myself to follow in their process. While growth certainly did happen, a lot of unnecessary time was spent being “dragged around” so to speak.

Unsurprisingly, the theme of power has come up frequently in meditations lately. It seems that a voice within me and situations around me keep telling me that I have some work to do around believing in my power, speaking that power, and becoming that power. Power– so many of us attribute it negatively. Is it though? When used towards our higher purpose and used to navigate ourselves and others towards a fulfilling destination?

I’ve sacrificed the idea of power and replaced it with the ideal of service in many contexts, especially in close personal relationships. I learned a lot. And I’m grateful for those lessons. Yet, I also experienced so much anger and frustration at that sacrifice. Was I truly serving anyone for the greater good? Or just playing nice and hoping.. hoping for the ‘right’ outcome, not even truly knowing what outcome that should be. I needed to experience that anger and frustration to learn what standing my ground meant. Where I thought it might mean losing something I valued, it really only demonstrates what is actually of value. Speaking from a place of inner power/value/purpose takes out the unnecessary and clears the path for the next step. What gets lost becomes less valuable and powerful then you once thought it was, and what remains is what is worth cultivating.

In my businesses- I can forge ahead and get so far ahead of myself and the team that I come off as intimidating, and I’ve often slowed my own process by getting caught up in wondering why nobody else sees my vision– instead of just directing and explaining the steps to accomplish that vision to the others involved. As I get more clear in my direction and communication- I’m seeing what I want to see happen in those around me. They become empowered, they communicate, they inspire and push harder towards the direction I lay out. There’s no equality, only motivated collaboration and new growth as a result.

I can motivate, inspire, and direct others… but if I take my leg off right at the moment where the next navigation is needed, less then optimal results come through. In reality it’s just miscommunication, confusion, and stutter steps.

Similarly, if I am too accommodating in my direction and collaboration, we don’t get anywhere. One party is happy to plod along and the other is aimlessly encouraging. There’s no connection.

My favourite line from this morning’s philosophical ride through a jump course/life was “believe your own bullshit”.

When you think you’re right, but doubt your correctness and don’t follow through with a direction/intention/cue.. it creates the same results as above. You’re bullshit, or your gut, or your inner thought- is almost ALWAYS right. Believe it. Even if you think it’s bullshit. Ride through it. Don’t play nice and let him (the horse)/life/another person lead.. you’re right. Direct the situation, even if it feels like you’re full of it.

Riding has always been a mirror for me. Just as yoga, meditation, and other things are as well. Riding doubles as having a physical, 1300lb, living breathing mirror to nail home it’s point. Returning now has unveiled many insecurities, blocks, and patterns in my psyche for review.

As I drove out to the barn this morning I was washed over with gratitude. For my mother who always sacrificed where she could to make my riding dreams a reality. The coaches I’ve been blessed with all the way through, all with their own philosophical roles in my growth and development in the saddle, and out. My high school principle who allowed me to use my spares in senior year to go to the barn and train. The profs who let me persist in being the “horse girl” and do any project possible focused to the equestrian. The opportunity to ride this horse I’m on now. The riders who participated in my early projects and those who came on as clients as I grew my understanding of changing how we develop athletes in this sport so many of us are addicted to.

Leaving the barn after the lesson I was blasted with reflections on situations gone by. How I played nice and hoped that the person or group involved would learn, choose themselves and see the collective vision– usually sacrificing myself in the process– where I could have stood my ground and navigated with some gumption instead. Sure, maybe the outcomes wouldn’t have changed. I obviously needed to experience all these events in the sequence they’ve occurred to get to where I am now… and boy, am I soaking up each and every experience.

We have the amazing ability to create our own realities. In this day and age, almost nothing is impossible. How many of us actually take initiative and choose to navigate towards the reality we want? How many of us can sit with our own bullshit and see the possibilities that lie within it?

Put your leg on, sit tall, and ride on through. The power is there, you just have to direct it.

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Powerful

“You don’t even know how powerful you are yet”

A friend told me that, earlier this year.

They were right.

This whole year I’ve been in a power struggle with my own being.

I started the year on the fumes of a year full of a “let go” theme. I rolled into the New Year set on shedding and grooming my self care. And in that new routine practice I found a voice that had been waiting.. waiting for a chance to speak.

That voice came out with friends, in self talk, with clients, in my business, and in networking.

It scared me. Often.

Then I noticed.. it only was scary when I tried to hold it in, or didn’t trust it.

The more I got comfortable with speaking the truth pouring out from within- the less terrifying it became. As I learned how to express tact with honesty I saw how my words created power for others.. empowered their own inner dialogue to shift.

In that process I began sensing efficacy in that inner fire. The inner power.

I realized that for so long I associated power with ego, and ego was something I’d worked so hard on releasing attachements to.

But.. are power and ego the same thing?

Not essentially, no.

“You haven’t realized how powerful you are”.. no.. I haven’t. But- I’m learning to experience power and not judge it for inspiring ego. Ego comes with being human- but observing it as part of our being enables it to let go of it’s hold on us.

So I continued to let go, to allow a flow to occur. Things, people, places- they come, they go, they call, they don’t call. It all ebbs and flows.

The pace of our lives sometimes carries us and sometimes we have to exercise control to gain perspective.

Where I sit now I sit in extreme accord with the voice that resides within and the fire that creates action. However I also am at peace with sometimes sitting and letting that voice mature.

My recent trip to Spain was the first travel experience where I honestly didn’t feel the need to reflect, examine, or exercise personal growth tactics.

I just was.

I came home with ideas and thoughts and progressions that I”ve been able to enact with new energy and a stronger voice then before.

I’ve had meetings and experiences since that have caused me to question everything about my experience so far, and how I want to use that experience to create new endeavours and what my purpose is.

I’ve seen love change forms in my life only to strengthen in it’s diversity. Expectations shift from set in stone to malleable elements serving equally those involved. Realities shift from what and who we are taught to be to understanding who we truly are, deep down, and exploring the purpose we all arrive with. Allowing that purpose to take on varying forms.

My life as it stands is wonderful and I look on it every day with newfound gratitude. For the opportunities and the power that resides within me- to give back, to create change, to build the reality I want to exist within.

True unhappiness or unsettledness stems in ignorance of self, distrust in the inner voice.

We learn to listen to that voice through experiencing the smallest moments life brings to us. A client planking for the first time in their two year history with you- and rocking it. A group fitness class that shows enthusiasm for the changes they are ready to make. Listening to an inspiring person in your life speak and feeling blessed to have them in your life. Seeing a friend break through their own internal struggles and let light into their being again.

All these small things are why we are here, and they are only found once we let go enough to let them shine through.

 

(Thank you to Jenaya Larisse Photography for the wonderful portrait ūüíĖ)  

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A confidence parallel

You may have noticed a theme of confidence in this summer’s posts (although few). Be it from recovering from my riding accident 6months ago and dealing the residual fear of getting back in the saddle, to transitioning into the jumpers from my oh so comfortable hunters- I am seemingly constantly confronted with the trials of where my confidence levels are on any given day.

My last post focused on how much I was beginning to regain confidence at Beach Party in the jumpers, after a good 3 days of making decent decisions and having decent rounds as a result. After that show I took some time off to do other things. I worked Folk Fest as part of the first aid team (which was awesome), dealt with an old back injury that acted up which took me away from riding for another week, ¬†interviewed with a therapist I will be doing some clinical with, covered the Morris Stampede (professional rodeo) with a professor as a member of the sports medicine team (also awesome), applied for a related scholarship, covered some football, celebrated 6months with the guy, got my back back on track, did some clinical work at MORfit… my first two assessments in I don’t know how long, and finally got back into the saddle for a few rides and lesson before Heart of the Continent which starts this week. My lesson was quite good, although I did struggle with my head a bit during. Thankfully, even though my brain was nervous- I was able to put that aside and tune into autopilot. This made our lesson go quite smoothly, and M&C were quite happy.

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This has been one of the first summers my career/school and riding have really collided. I’ve been trying to find a balance, but in all reality for the majority of the earlier summer riding took precedence. The closer it gets to fall, the more AT focused things I’m beginning to do.. but I’m glad I’ve had the opportunities in AT I’ve had the past few weeks as they kind of reset my mindset towards where I’m at with riding.

Through doing all those other things outside of riding the past few weeks, the more athletic therapy sided things, made me see the other side of confidence in my life. It seems that my career and my sport have switched sides on me. In the past, athletic therapy related ordeals have taken some serious guts for me to accomplish due to a lack of experience and confidence in the area while riding has been something that comes easily for me with success following my experience and confidence levels in the ring. This summer every event I’ve covered as an AT or responder has been¬†refreshingly fun, easy, and not like work at all. At Folk Fest I found myself labelled as the chief wound dresser, after impressing a few people early on with my roller gauze abilities. Morris Stampede brought me using soft tissue release techniques that I’ve never actually had the chance to use in real life since learning them.. but I still rocked it out.

I’ve clicked into a groove in the field, and excel at every chance I get in the clinic. The two clinical assessments I did for Claude were the first in 6-8months, but I found myself running on autopilot and picking up on things I’d read about or seen talked about at the CATA conference. I didn’t stumble through my questions, or forget what came next in the movement assessment.. I just did my thing and did it pretty well.

How nice it is to be able to do something so autonomously with confidence. All this took me the past year and a bit of working my butt off in class and clinical, and taking myself out of my comfort zone every chance I got. When I started this program I was somewhat shy, quiet, and although eager to learn- completely terrified. I see myself now turning into a calm, confident, knowledgable young professional. I guess that’s where I should be at as I enter my final year of the program before challenging the national exam.

When you stack that feeling of confidence within my budding career up to my long time riding career and my current feeling of not much confidence at all… it clearly shows the effects of a transition year. I most definitely underestimated the switch to the jumper ring as being simpler then it is. While I was plagued by a few unfortunate injuries early in the season, between having to ride very differently around a longer more aggressive course and being on a horse who has just as much experience doing this as I do… I have my work cut out for me. Beach Party proved to me that I am on the right track. But, just like the steps I had to take as a student AT to build my confidence and as a result boost my abilities- I have to do the same and put in the time in the jumper ring.

My goals for Heart of the Continent this week are to remain focused on staying calm, sitting up, keeping my leg on, having fun, and doing what I know how to do.. which is ride. Because while I may be a newbie to the jumper ring, I have been doing this crazy sport for over half my life- the skills are in there somewhere.

In a more general “state of my life” update, I am being run kind of crazy between work, riding, KSA organization, trying to get my current apartment subletting, dealing with subsequent no shows to the scheduled apartment viewings, working with my CMU Basketball teams, prepping for my football team to start up again, and the school year to begin. On top of Heart this week I’m moving in the middle of it, and working evenings. I’m also currently working on a proposal for a directed study on the biomechanics of a rider and how strength training can improve that (I know, I know.. I’ve been on this forever). In the midst of this I’ve had to chase the show boots I ordered in June across the country as I still haven’t received them…. long and frustrating story short.. they got on a plane today for express overnight to Winnipeg and should be here before I start competing Thursday. Here’s hoping I get to wear my boots for the last couple shows of the year!

Writing this all down I’m not surprised I had to take a “sick/mental health” day this morning to both recoup and get packing done for my move later this week.

The remainder of the time leading up to Heart… which is like 16 hrs at this point.. is going to be spent putting my game face on and not stressing about every other thing going on in my life. The move will happen with the help of my man, friends, and parents. My apartment will get sub-letted asap. KSA will be organized in time for fall. I will organized all the paperwork and training schedules for all three teams I’m working (after Heart). I will survive, and August holds some much needed weekends off and chill time before the last year of my BSc. I can do this!

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2013 Top Ten

It’s that time of year again! Another year full of ups and downs is coming to a close, and since I don’t believe in setting resolutions (especially not when they are only set once a year..), it’s time again to reflect on the most memorable moments of 2013. Of course in no particular order, below is the top 10 moments (some good, some.. a learning experience..) from the past 12 months.

  • Applying for, interviewing, and accepting a job at MORfit. I laugh at the thought that I almost decided to pass on sending in a resume to this kijiji job posting almost a year ago. How different would things have been? I might not have gained as much hands on clinical experience, nor been as surrounded by many ambitious, motivated, and some of the nicest, professionals in the fitness industry, nor have gotten the opportunity to design and run a program I’ve been dreaming of setting up for years now. Its common for me to go into work stressed, or tired, or just in a bad mood- however, no matter what happens during my shift, or how long it is, I’ve noticed a trend that I always leave a shift feeling happy and reminded that what I do is what I love to do.
  • Getting one more opinion on my health from a Naturopath- and in turn, changing my eating habits. The impact improving my nutrition seriously has had on pretty much every aspect of my life continues to astound me. I have no doubt that half of what I’ve accomplished this year might not have been doable without the improvement in health I got from these changes.
  • That fateful day when I got concussed. Probably not one of my favourite moments of the year.. however, it did bring along some great opportunities. Past the hellish symptoms that lasted for far too long (partially my fault), I ended up meeting my future football supervisor that day, and gained some insight to an injury that is common- but not commonly understood. I always seem to need to learn things by actually experiencing them… not sure I’m liking this habit, but I do like the results. It’s sometimes hard to really take injuries like this seriously, until you’ve experienced them first hand. So, crappy months of symptoms that followed aside, I am grateful for what I’ve gained from the experience too. It’s led me to a tonne of personal development, learning, and helped in my career endeavours.
  • Winning my first medal class. One of many riding highs this season!
Classy

Classy

  • Facing my football fears. Going from hyperventilating after almost every practice to feeling calm and much more confident on field by the end of the season. I got to see a new side to the field of AT, and got to fall in love even more with the profession. I also go to perfect my taping skills. Bonus!

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I had a lot of great rounds this year, and a lot of great results.. but this one was special. Not only was it a personal best score for me in a derby, ringside drama and politics aside, it was a round where I wasn’t nervous or overthinking a single thing– I was just in there having fun. All I really remember about that round was coming out of the final combination, my face breaking into a smile, and having to fight back tears as I came out of the ring hearing my team mates cheering. Unbeatable feeling.

  • Momma’s wedding. For sure a highlight to the summer, seeing everyone, especially Mom, so happy.¬†Image 1
  • All the teaching and coaching I was privileged to do. Between 4H lessons, private clients, HC, CC basketball, and helping with the older adults class this past semester I benefited from the rewards that come from helping others achieve their goals. I’ve always loved to teach others, and many of the opportunities I took on in 2013 are turning into new opportunities come the new year. The older adults program is continuing, I am helping as a lab demo for a different prof, I am starting up my own conditioning program for riders at MORfit, and continuing to help with basketball and training of horses at HC.
  • Time spent with friends and family. This was a year full of love. From trail rides with barn friends, getting lost in the pembina valley hiking, wine and dine nights, weddings, adventures driving in torrential downpours, celebrating the end of the term, teepee bonfires, and the list could continue– it’s all been amazing.
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  • Last but not least, running. I’ve done a lot of it this year (except for the 2 months I had to take off due to head stuff). I participated in my first 5k (colour me rad) and 10k (Winnipeg 10&10) this year, and beat many personal bests. I ended up going into the 10k out of a month of zero training- but still made the top half of the group with a time of 1:01hrs. My competitive side may have come out a bit. I’m hoping to participate in the what is sure to be fun Ice Donkey in February, and then see what next summer brings for me in the way of organised running. A present to myself this Christmas was going out for a run, as the weather was finally in a acceptable range (-20) and there was no wind. I’m not a person that can run more than 3 times a week, but I’ve found that that maximum is all I need to do what I do and still love and benefit from it. So that’s what I’ll keep doing!
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So, there you have it! Another year flies by, full of new and terrifying things. I have to say, I liked 2013 better than 2012. There was a little more balance in my life, or at least I was better equipped to handle the chaos. Maybe I have 2012 to thank for that. Either way, I’m excited to see what 2014 has in store for me- and excited to take on new challenges!

Readers: What stands out to you from the past year? What do you look forward to in the New Year?

"The extraordinariness of an experience doesn't just reside in the destination, or the itinerary. It relies on the identity of the experiencer..."

“The extraordinariness of an experience doesn’t just reside in the destination, or the itinerary. It relies on the identity of the experiencer…”

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But I’ve never… never mind. The story of a AT student.

“Kathlyn is going to do your hip-flexor work today, and then she’ll stretch you”

What I hear as I walk in the door to work on Tuesday.

“Are you good with that?” directed at me, with a smirk.

“Yeah uh, sure– but.. I’ve never done a hip massage before…” –Me, sounding super intelligent.

“Oh.. I know.” Walks away chuckling and leaves me in a room with a client.

And that is basically how SO many of my hours as an AT student are spent lately. Just yesterday at football a similar thing happened. Except with less details given and a little bit higher intensity.

In pre-game, pretty much as soon as we started taping we were over run by players wanting the perfect taping for their first play-off game- which meant Nikki was tied up with the QB and her form of dealing with the “swarm” is to shoot people off my direction. I normally cover ankles and thumbs, with the occasional wrist thrown in there. However today there was an elbow hyperextension that needed taping (a tape job I haven’t done since the very preliminary version they taught us a year ago in P&C- funny enough something they were reviewing in the part of class I left early from to make football), and NIkki asked if I knew how to do it. I kinda mumbled a sorta, I guess- and then promptly got thrown a roll of tape and was told to “go!”. The fun part about taping is that you can make a lot of stuff up on the fly, as long as it prevents what it’s supposed to prevent. What I came up with even got a compliment from Nikki when she saw it run by her on field later on.

Later on, a player had come off the field complaining of pain to the quad and iliotibial band just above the knee, and Nikki was running him through a quick assessment while I observed. His strength was good, and his movement was also fine- so we came the conclusion he just had a contusion (bruise) to the muscles in the area. She was just about to start compression wrapping and return to play functional testing when we hear “TRAINER, TRAINER!!!” from the field and see one our players rolling on the ground. All I got that time was Nikki throwing the elastic tape at me and yelling “compression!” as she ran onto the field. So, with an athlete anxious to get going standing infront of me I did my first on field quad contusion compression wrap (really not a big deal..) and ran my first athlete through functional return to play testing (bigger deal) and made the decision he was good to go back into play (and confirmed it of course). 20131025-144454.jpg The boys ended up winning their quarter final game, and so we head off to semis next week! At least one more week of shivering for us!

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Needless to say we didn’t have too many players lingering on the table last night… Little bit chilly..

Luckily, for me, I love learning this way. For one, it really prevents procrastination. When someone is throwing you into a situation, you can’t really put it off. Your brain is forced to recall information and put it to use, ASAP. Also, so far anyway, it has a way of giving ¬†a little boost of confidence- which is often needed. A lot of what we cover in class is often hard to grasp when all you have to practice on is your pretty healthy and functional lab partners. The amount of times I’ve walked into work and had the AT there say “have you ever done this before” or “when’s the last time you did this?” and my response is “um.. never..” (highly educated response, I know) is off the charts- but equal with the amount of times he throws me in there anyway. Of course giving a super quick demo that looks effortless and easy- only to be the opposite for my rookie hands. It only took a few weeks of doing some deep-tissue work on clients to get a feel for what was actually happening underneath my touch. It took me months to get my angles right in some tape jobs. But that’s what this kind¬†of learning does to a person like me- it fuels that dedication to get it right- and I took it as a great compliment when Nikki referred to me as a perfectionist when helping me prep for my Taping practical.

Those “getting thrown into the deep end” lessons, although terrifying, are also really good for helping to teach how to put things into context. I shouldn’t say they are terrifying, they used to be.. but now they are pretty much expected. It’s kind of like, oh- I haven’t done that before- you’re going to make me do it, aren’t you… well, why not. Each client/athlete is so different, and you can’t throw a textbook assessment, tape job, or symptom at them and expect them to fit the mould (but you still have to have a more than solid appreciation for what those textbooks have inside them). I’m really seeing the value of getting a variety of different experiences under my belt- working with different therapists and athletes as much as possible. The AT at work always stresses how each therapist has their own style, and how it takes learning from a few different people to really get a feel for how you want to work.

It’s very true, just having seen the way a few therapists work so far. They all have different ways of being in whatever they are doing- and no way is more effective than another. When the basics are there, everything else falls into place. It’s the trial of an AT student to try and keep the basics floating around long enough that they actually become basic, instead of this huge mass of information that seems incomprehensible and overwhelming at first glance. “Use it or lose it” might be a good phrase. “Practice makes perfect” and “Try, try again” are also applicable.

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A long post for a long week

Look at me, posting on a Sunday like I intended to!

I had another one of those weeks where it felt like a month passed in 4 days. And I really don’t think that feeling is going to go away any time soon. The amount of things I’m fitting in right now qualifies me for the hypothetical over-scheduling olympics. Hypothetical only because they won’t ever happen due to scheduling conflicts.

I believe I mentioned the opportunity I received early last week to work alongside three profs and a few other students teaching and assisting in an older adults exercise class and research project on campus this year. ¬†I feel pretty lucky to have been in the right place at the right time with this one, as it will be giving me loads of learning experience (and connections) in exercise prescription and working with a different age group. To go along side this, the AT that works at the gym I also work at has delegated me his Thursday night assistant. Literally 10-minutes after walking in the door for my shift Thursday he had me stretching out a client for him. He taught me a few new stretches that I hadn’t learnt yet and informed me that I would be learning many more over the next week or so as he has a large client list for Thursday nights and needs an extra set of hands doing things like stretching, supervising exercise, and whatever else he deems me able to do. And my hands need the experience. So, there we go. I have a nice contrast going right now, between working with high school athletes, seniors, and now also the in-between aged clients.

To add to this list, I also accepted a volunteer position with Horse Connection¬†.¬†This organization is based around providing inner city/high risk youth with behavioural and now also physical disorders or disabilities a chance to work around horses and learn new skills in a structured and challenging environment. ¬†They combine the benefits of both sport and working with animals to help change lives. How awesome is that? I’ve been a fan of this program for a while, knowing one of the co-founders, and was so happy when she asked if I would be interested in getting involved. My position right now will range from exercising the lesson horses, to basic instructing/supervising the kids around the horses, and handling/leading horses during lessons. It seems like the kind of position that can lead to more opportunities down the road, especially with my educational background.

Am I doing well on the “not overscheduling” goal I listed last post? Ehhhh… not really… Basically gained another 3 jobs, to add to my current part-time job, as well as a full course load- this week alone. Oh and lets not forget football. Here’s hoping the universe is done offering me schedule fillers, because we all know I have a serious problem with saying no to things. But, I am doing better with my nutrition goals, and I did open a text book yesterday and read a few pages. Win some you lose some, I guess.

What else can I tell you?

Friday was our first season game in Brandon, and my first ever football game. Like I’ve mentioned before, it’s been a steep learning curve and a new perspective for me. As an athlete myself I’m not unfamiliar with the practice/game/team-sport atmosphere- but it is very different point of view as an AT student. As much as you are a part of the team, the AT is responsible for all things regarding player safety and because of this has to stay very objective in every situation. As much as you are involved, you are the one responsible for taking a step back and often making important decisions when it comes to an athletes’ well being.

We travelled to Brandon (thankfully on a coach bus, not a school bus like my high school athlete days). I had no idea what to expect going into the game, as I’ve only ever been to one football game in my life as a spectator- and never as a member of the team. True to my theme, Iearned fast on the go. On the bus my supervisor gave me the job of talking to all the athletes to find out what they needed, wanted, or felt they needed taped before the game. Her words upon handing me the pen and paper were “are you okay doing this?” and my response was “I’m going to be”. This basically sums up our working relationship. She hands me something out of my comfort zone, and I figure out how to handle it in a hurry. It’s comforting to know that she wouldn’t ever give me something out of my depth, but it doesn’t change the terrifying leap I end up taking out of my comfort zone. Great for learning.

So after roaming through a moving bus filled with football players, and arriving in Brandon, I set out on taping ankles and other pre-game tasks. Once the players were ready to go, we headed out on field and I was handed another unfamiliar task. Filling out the emergency action plan for the game location. This I was guided through, and it really isn’t too hard- just involves talking to the other teams trainer, finding out their qualifications (if any), and knowing the address and ambulance entrance directions in case of an emergency. Once that was done, and the game had started, I did a lot of observing. Thankfully there were no major injuries- the head trainer only had to go on field once for a bad case of bruised ribs. I watched a few assessments (bruised ribs, shoulder subluxation, wrist injury), and dealt with a few minor cuts and wardrobe malfunctions. Then the game was over, players showered, and we were back on the bus home. And I started breathing again.

Saturday brought a nice relaxing (what?!) day spent hacking with Lauren at the barn (got to hop on the by far biggest horse in the barn, Shakka), and then lounging around running errands the rest of the day. Sunday brought my first ever 10k run in the Winnipeg 10&10 for Winnipeg Harvest. When I say my first ever 10k, I mean it. I haven’t ever trained over 10k before. How’s that for spontaneous. I’m very proud to say I managed to finish in 1:01 hrs, a very respectable time for my circumstances/irresponsibility and ran the ENTIRE thing.¬†1184782_10151904625733086_220155402_n

That was week 1 of my the last 25% of my University degree. It is still so weird for me to be a third year. There are many moments when I feel like the jaded student that I am, but equally as many moments where I feel like I’m still a newbie. I guess that’s because this is the first year where all my classes are specific to my career choice, and much more challenging. Somedays it’s easy to imagine working in the real world, because I have already gained some experience actually doing it- and will gain much more by the time I’m done this year (or this semester even). All the things I’ve been planning for my future are actually starting to happen. Old goals and new goals are becoming even more clear. It seems like such a short time ago I was still unsure about where I was going or who I wanted to be, and yet I’m finding myself becoming more experienced in things I used to only dream about more and more each day.. especially when I fill the days up like I do. Time is flying, even when it feels like it’s dragging.

To end off, I’ll leave you with some pictures of the meals I’ve made to get me back on track with some good eating to keep me going and over scheduling (haha, I wish I was kidding), and some other random snapshots from the week.

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Shakka! Aka, elephant.

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Tried out Modern Taco Company, SO GOOD (and gluten free!).

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My creation- sweet potato and zucchini “pasta” cooked with basil, rosemary, onions and garlic- topped with farmer sausage and chickpeas.

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First in-class taping since last year. My football practicing is paying off!

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First day of school selfie. This is the last time I will dress this nicely for class until next September, it had to be documented.

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Blueberry Chai Muffins (grain free, dairy free, sugar free- but so delicious), recipe from http://www.paleomg.com!

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That familiar-unfamiliar feeling

What a week! Classes are done finally and now it’s just wading through the 5 exams this month until I can shift my focus completely to work and riding (and my spring course..)!

Today I dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s on my new summer job. This job will keep me in the city for the summer. While there is a certain amount of excitement about the job itself, and the experience it will give me, there is also a feeling quite similar to one I had frequently while overseas. The being outside of your comfort zone and growing up type feeling. Something new, something exciting, something maybe a little bit scary? It seems ridiculous to compare the two- staying in the city for the summer, somewhere already pretty familiar to travelling across the world, alone. But, is the first summer I will spend away (away is dramatic- its only an hour) from home. It seems to be eliciting some homesickness-like vibes.

So much of this past year has been about putting myself outside of my comfort zone- taking on the unfamiliar and the scary- and finding out where it takes me. That unfamiliarity is almost normal. Its starting to seem that just when I get used to one thing, I find a new challenge to take on. That’s what pursuing higher education is about though, right? Sometimes its not even an unfamiliar challenge that pops up- it quite often is something familiar to me, a challenge I have dealt with and worked through already, but presented in a new way. Demanding that I re-look at how I faced it before and develop a new game plan for how to deal with it now.

Those who know me best know that I love taking on a challenge. Which is why, although the unfamiliarity of stepping outside of that comfort zone is usually terrifying, I have been consciously making the effort to do it more and more. I can’t lie, it is completely exhausting, deflating, and runs me down some of the time. However, the changes I have noticed in myself as a student, friend, athlete, young professional, etc etc, show what that effort is providing me with. I am able to set goals and work towards them with confidence, even if the road along the way isn’t one I’ve travelled before.

Everyday is a new adventure, yadda yadda.

That got deep fast.

Apparently there are lots of things floating around in my head right now.

To summarize, summer job= staying in the city= mixed feelings.

I’ve had two rides on the grey beast since moving him to McMullans for some spring butt kicking. He has been¬†exceptional both times. Tonight consisted of about 45 minutes of bending, and transition. His transitions are so so nice (miraculously) even now after the winter off- that is- until about the 30 minute mark when the energy levels start to dwindle. When we started our hack today he was floating around the ring in great balance, bending around my leg like nobody’s business. But as we continued to work- the whole floating thing went down the spectrum a bit, and he relied a little bit more my hands instead of carrying himself. It was good to spend a bit longer with him tonight, to see where we are at in terms of lateral work and general flat work. Fitness wise, he is way above my expectations. The biggest thing for the next little while is going to be reminding him how to balance himself, and getting some fluidity/impulsion back into his trot. And of course reminding my body what it is like to be in the saddle on a regular basis!

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Relive

People often say, don’t linger on the past- focus on the future. I have always been one to lean towards the philosophy of learning from what’s behind you- and letting those lessons help you get through what’s ahead of you. There is something to be said for both trains of thought. Letting the past further complicate you’re future is not very constructive. Lingering in the past is only okay if you are being proactive about it.

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Quite a few times this week, through a variety of different conversations, I’ve ended up telling stories (lengthly ones) about experiences I had while overseas in NZ. For anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis, you’re probably sick and tired of reading my reflections on those experiences.. so.. sorry? Suck it up?

If you’ve travelled before- you’ll know the feeling of reliving certain experiences.. having flashbacks if you will.. of moments from wherever you were. When I first got home it happened to me all the time. Vivid recollections of the smallest random memories. Everyday, no matter what I was doing, I’d end up reliving a different part of NZ. Over time of course it’s happened less frequently, but it still happens now and again. Today, for example, it was running at 5:30am down the road outside of Clevedon- watching the sunrise and the morning mist lift. A quiet moment alone with an astounding landscape surrounding me before starting work at LC. How and why my subconscious chooses what I’m going to be reliving and when is unknown to me.

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It used to be and sometimes still is a very bittersweet thing for me. For quite a while I was pretty caught up in the negatives of some of the experiences I had. To this day if I hear the ringtone I had as my alarm while I was working at LC, I will feel physically ill. It took me a long time to get to a point where I stopped lingering on the fact that it wasn’t the “perfect” trip- but rather the perfect opportunity for me to figure a lot of stuff out. Pre-trip, I was excited for the experiences I planned (lol at planning experiences, like that ever works)- to find out who I was away from everything I knew.. during I was lost..post-trip I was somewhat bitter but mostly just still lost. In all reality, I ended up accomplishing exactly what I wanted through those 6 months away, “finding out who I was away from everything I knew”. Indirectly, by utilizing plan B, C, D, through Z- I got a solid grasp on who I am. Even if it took me a few “recovery” months to figure that out.
“…the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.”

Pretty much nothing I had planned pre-trip worked out. The job, was, to put it mildly, a low point in my life- however I am quite happy it was that. My travelling (that wouldn’t have been possible if the job had worked out), was quite alternative to the regular backpacker “thing”. I like to say that I got to see the “real NZ”, opposed to the “tourist NZ”. Seeing the country by travelling the rodeo circuit with a bunch of crazy cowboys is not something many people can say they’ve done. My travelling fund, which was supposed to have been funded by my original job, instead became funded by me selling my hair. My attempt at seeing more of the “tourist” side of the country started out according to plan (and was pretty sweet as)- but ended with me, without a phone, luckily with relatives (who I am forever grateful to), in excruciating pain for days, passing out, meeting numerous doctors, seeing the inside of a few hospitals (more of the “real NZ”?), and talking a few of those doctors out of surgery, only by promising to go straight to a doctor as soon as I got to Canada, so I could get home on time. Life keeps us humble. Of course, many of these “alternative” plans brought me to some amazing experiences! And I may not want to re-do exactly some of the things I went through, I am grateful for many of the things it brought me to (amazing family/friends, sights, sounds, smells, hairstyles I never thought I could pull off, etc.).

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“Whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.”
To nerd this post up a bit, it’s common knowledge that stressing the system is the best way to strengthen it (principle of overload); a structure will strengthen along the lines of resistance. With this in mind- I am so glad all those plans didn’t work out. Because looking back, I got through all of that- thankfully not alone (again, NZ family, my heroes for life)- lived to survive another day- plan more things to be rerouted and flipped upside down. All those days where I was lost, working through some dark stuff, where it was all I could do to get out of bed in the mornings- I still did, I kept making plans, I didn’t give up. Looking behind me now, reliving all those moments (even the unpleasant ones), helps me feel less intimidated by whatever is coming next. And believe me, I do get intimidated. Instead of making me afraid to set big goals, it did the exact opposite. It taught me that it’s okay to be flexible with my goals, my plans, my dreams. Those are lessons that are serving me well in this adventure I am now on working towards my degree and certification, and my ongoing mystery health problems..As well, of course, in my riding and athletic ventures.
“Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.”

 

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Season of love

Okay, so here is my obligatory holiday season post- expect another one around New Years.

I’ve been meaning to do a post on my experiences with family and friends over this past year- because it’s probably the main reason I’ve made it through the year without completely losing it, and there really isn’t a better time than Christmas time. As long as I can remember Christmas has been about spending time with family and friends- making house calls, dropping off baking, sharing one another’s company, etc etc. It’s time spent with the people who surround you during every aspect of your life- in a variety of ways. The past year or so for me has really opened my eyes to how the idea of family travels past the blood relations, without borders, and can get you through some pretty rough times.

This is the season to really look around you and appreciate what you are blessed with. Some people only have a few to call family, others have many. I’m blessed with quite a few, near and far, who I call family and who have shown me great kindness and love. Finding people in life that accept you for you and support you in wherever your life takes you is irreplaceable. The love I felt, right away, from relatives who only first met me when picking me up from an airport and taking me in for a short time was amazing. Or sat with me in the hospital when I was 10,000 miles away from home. I know my family in Canada was very grateful for all that too.¬†I can never thank all those in NZ who did that for me, and hope that one day I can return the favour. I was lucky enough to spend my first Christmas away from home (and without snow) with NZ family who took me in as one of their own with no hesitation. Because of all those in that hemisphere who showed my love and kindness throughout my stay them, I saw a side of the country that I might not have experienced if I had done the typical travellers thing, or heaven forbid, stayed at my first job there. And during some of my darkest times there (believe me, there was those too), I had amazing support from close friends and family back in Canada. I found strength through those people, when I couldn’t find it in myself. For me, that’s what family is about.

Everyone interprets the meaning of family differently, I think. Traditionally it’s defined as a household with a mother, father, and children and then extended relatives. But for me, it encompasses the traditional aspect, of course, but also those people who have been by my side through different experiences and periods in my life. Friends. Being the busy person that I am, I meet people in many different places. There’s friends that have stuck with me since high school, relationships developed and tested through time spent in sport, training, work, travel, and now University. My mom has always told me that often you are closest to a person at a certain time in life because that’s when you need them, and vice versa. That relationship doesn’t always stay as close as time passes- but during that chapter of your life, it was important and is something to be respected. Time spent apart, and distance travelled can sometimes change a friendship- but a true friend is always a friend. Throughout this year I’ve been surrounded by a variety of people. Some of which I am quite glad I’ll never have to interact with again. But many who I hope are a part of my life for years to come, because they have brought out strength in me I didn’t know I had and reminded me that even when things get bad, they don’t stay bad forever. The stress in my life is truly only manageable because of the great people I have surrounding me. And I really do have some amazing friends and family in my life.

I am so happy to have people in my life that are there for the ups and downs, and am equally happy that I can be there for them through their goods and bads. ¬†To surround yourself with people who keep you striving towards your personal goals is so important. I do not believe true success (however you define that) is ever possible without a base of people supporting you through the trials of pursuing dreams. Life throughs some wicked tests, and even if you’re someone who studies better alone, the idea of having others to compare, contrast, discuss, or even just get distracted with is what makes those tests doable. Sorry for the school analogy. I’m currently in study withdrawal.

All this being said, I hope that everyone out there is blessed with people in their life who bring them you on the bad days, celebrate with you on the great days, and make every day in between worth living. Having each other is the greatest gift of all- and I hope this is something all of you are grateful for this holiday season.

 

 

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