Tag Archives: goals

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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Delegation

There was a moment when I was a 3rd ish year AT student, working at a provincial level multi-sport event. An athlete went down in the middle of the competition mat and in my head I thought “wow that was a good ankle sprain!”- then milliseconds later realized that everyone was looking at me.. and then realized that I was now in charge of the situation as the medic on site. 
I feel like that’s been me all the time lately. Constant realizations that I’m the on in control and I have to make the call.. that everyone is looking at me. 

My life is moving fast. 
I feel as though I’m in a collecting mode- learning as fast as I can in order to perform to the tasks I’m confronted with daily. I also feel like I’m speaking with a voice I haven’t heard before. In many moments in between collecting- I am also throwing myself into the waves and figuring out how to swim- asking of others and expecting more then I ever thought I would at this point in my life. 
This spring I took on management of two new locations for my business, collaborating with another business. I took on 4 new staff, and took on a provincial board of director role alongside my national board role with the Kinesiology Alliance. I got accepted as a presenter at a major yoga and wellness festival for this fall, and decided to co-host a retreat with another therapist in August. Some of these things are no brainers, some are decidedly moves outside my comfort zone, and some are asking me to grow personally in ways I didn’t expect them to. 

I’ve been working hard to find a balance between the all action all the time end of the spectrum and the hold back and take in your surroundings end. 

I went into the career I chose because it allowed me to teach, enable, empower, work in health, and work with humans. It was a career that offered endless directions to follow, and I’ve been lucky enough in my short time to follow many directions simultaneously. 

Transitioning from a solo therapist running my own gig to a business owner, manager, and leadership role for team of great therapists, staff and multiple locations happened quicker then expected. The learning curve has been steep and strong, however- rarely do I have a bad (negative) day. 
One of the themes of the lessons I’m having to teach myself lately is delegation. Not only delegating better to myself and getting things done- but also having to step into a management role where there are no set guidelines, expectations, or rule books. Nor any previous training! 
Simultaneous to this I’ve seen my own patient caseload grow, with many cases that force me to go back to the research and learn everything I can. 
I realized in not too long that I needed to delegate, but I was holding back from delegating because of an internal fear that delegating meant losing control. 
From that stemmed the realization that in order to continue growing, I had to let go and that delegating didn’t mean I was losing any control- it only meant I had to expand my skill set to appropriately delegate, and that letting go (so to speak) of those delegatable tasks in my head meant I would have more space for new and exciting things to start blossoming. 
There’s been many moments that have forced me to do some introspection. 

Is what I’m asking someone clear, and effective? Am I expecting them to read my mind? 
Where is this patient coming from- am I staring too close to the picture, or am I not communicating the plan clear enough?
Am I running faster then my feet can keep up to? 
Do I want to succeed in the system or do I want to be someone who pushes the system towards better things? 
Where do I want to go? 
Many of the questions involving peers, associates, or staff were answered by taking the time to reflect on my communication and leadership style. I noticed that instead of delegating tasks or thoughts- I was instead expecting them to think the same way I think, and have the same motivations I have. Which- in all reality- is not why I brought them onto my team. 
From here I had to step back even further and break down what I wanted from them, expected, and build strategy in my communicating on how to influence them towards the same way of thinking. The response I got back from these small changes reminded me that I hired good people, and that leadership is more then just delegating and setting expectations… I did say I went into this because I love teaching, no?
When it came to intimidation over different patient cases- I had to go back again to how I was interviewing and communicating with them. Similar to with my staff, I noticed that I was setting expectations and holding a high standard to those expectations in my own head- without clearly recognizing the patient’s standpoint. When I took some time and played with changing my communications, asking different questions, and taking a little more stand in how I educated and to an extent, delegated plans of attack- things shifted again in my own growth. 
Biggest of all I’ve become much more comfortable (although still working on it) giving criticism. I personally deeply value the effective of constructive criticism or direct discussion on how I’m doing something- yet providing that to others in a leadership setting has been something I’ve had to work on. 
This fast change in how I observe and process information has created a desire for more and more pressure within myself to continue evolving- while at the same time I’ve come up against a few walls I don’t feel ready to climb yet. Not ready in the sense of e experience/know-how– while keeping the perspective that sometimes in order to get over a hurdle you just have to jump. As I delve more into the psyche of others, and creating change- the more I am confronted with loneliness. 
Not in the sense that I feel I need companionship- but in the sense that while I can see many others’ perspectives, I often feel as though I’m the only one that works and processes on the topics and levels I’m currently on. For this reason I’ve been very grateful for the few leadership groups I’ve joined- for there is where I’ve found likeminded leaders to jive with. 
This has enabled me new inspiration and much needed mentors. I still had and will have more moments where I sat in a Costco parking lot crying because I’d spent two weeks in my own thought bubble over one problem I was trying to solve and was finally coming out of it to realize and maniac texting your best friend. Nor did it change the time I talked for hours on end so fast to a friend that they could hardly get a word in- just because it was the first time I’d had social exposure outside of clients in weeks. Or when you realize you’ve become the friend who is always busy so you as a rule get forgotten about when it comes to plans. All entrepreneurs go through these things- and this isn’t meant to be a pity party- but all these moments are forcing new epiphanies and growth- so I am above all else grateful. 
I’ve learned that all those little moments where you simultaneously feel so worn out, but finally feel a release from your own mind spiral are par for the course when you’re constantly pushing for more.. out of yourself, others, and society. 
I’m at a point in my career where the impatience for more is driving me nuts, but the best option is sitting up, half halting, and waiting for the best take off distance. 
If there’s anything I’ve retained from my riding career it’s that jumping ahead never ends well. There’s a certain beauty in pausing and staying on pace until the right spot comes up. This is also the best way to train your eye. There is a time and a place for seizing every opportunity, and there is a time and a place for taking in the whole picture. 
I’m somewhere in between those two moments right now. 

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My new nickname and somehow achieving goals

I’ve had such an up and down couple weeks! One day I can come home completely exhausted and de-motivated, and then the next I will have absolutely everything completely inspire me and tell me I’m exactly where I want to be. Between it all I turned 21, and am managing to stay on track and achieve little goals everyday. Somehow.

I just finished writing a blog post for my practicum requirements- it had “surviving” in the the title. Which should give you a good idea of how I feel about everything right now. I’m making it happen, sometimes barely. Don’t get me wrong, my perspective on surviving is a good one. I’m somehow keeping up to my plans. Which is huge- because my plans are big and daunting and scare me most of the time.

So, what have I been up to the past two weeks?

Everything. Legitimately go from one end of the spectrum to the next in a day. Absolute insanity.

Its not uncommon for me to start my day at the barn where Horse Connection is based working with some of their new horses. The horse I’ve been focusing on is Sonny, a 7 yr old paint who is relatively new to the program. He is also relatively new to all things balance, forward motion, collection, and anything faster then a jog. The program directer asked me to put some miles on him before we start with the kids in a few weeks, and the first time I rode him it was easy to tell he wasn’t lacking in brains- just in motivation. Our first ride was a lot of walking, figuring out what he knew and didn’t know. I realized quickly that nobody had really ever helped in out with balance. So, I spent time giving him guidance in that area. Circles, bending, transitions, serpentines, and more transitions.That first ride I was only able to keep him at a canter for one circle in each direction- and trotting was also pretty messy. He just wasn’t convinced about where to put his feet and how to hold his head. I came out of it with lots of ideas with what to do next with him. The next time I got on Sonny, it was clear I had made an impression on him. Right away he was walking with more confidence and putting himself in a gorgeous frame. His trot had more impulsion, he didn’t fall into our circles as much, and I didn’t have to encourage him as much to keep moving forward through the trot and walk. When I asked him to canter, he wasn’t overly motivated- but I kept him at a consistent pace for well over 6 circles in each direction, which he hasn’t done for anybody yet. I was pretty surprised with how quickly he made progress- and it was one of those beautiful horse-rider moments where you can feel progress happening. The director was around to see this ride, and was equally impressed with his progress. Which is always nice to hear!

So that’s the first major commitment I have. Next I head to school- where I listen and practice practical skills. This past week I started researching ideas for a pathology research paper. There are two options that interest me, one of which is hippotherapy as a intervention for cerebal palsy (might as well seeing as I’m going to be getting hands on experience with this once Horse Connection starts up), and the other on the pathology of post concussion syndrome. Also pretty relevant to my career as an AT. This past week I also helped with fitness testing in the older adults fitness class I’m working with. The testing we do now, and again at the end of the program, is going to be used in some research one of the profs is doing- and I’m hoping to get involved with- on the effects of exercise on an ageing population. ¬†Among some of the other fun things I learned this week in classes were pre-event massage, which is exhausting to perform, and hilarious to receive. You find out very quickly where you are ticklish, and learn that you can make some pretty interesting noises when trying to stifle laughter and not kick your lab partner in the face. Later in the week I also learned how to make a orthotic cast and assess gait/foot postures. It was pretty fun to play with plaster, and I now have a lovely cast of my foot courtesy of my lab partner. Below is a picture of my looking way to happy while working on my partner’s foot.

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After classes finish for the day I can be headed one of many directions. Sometimes its to a yoga class, other times it’s cooking with my bestie. This week we made Chicken and bacon alfredo(made with coconut milk) spaghetti squash with saut√©ed spinach and asparagus with a side of gluten free garlic toast. Mostly paleo, all delicious.

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If it’s work I’m off to, I get to spend time watching and learning from the AT at the gym. This week he had me teach and supervise exercises with a couple clients as well as stretch them out. He gave me the complement of telling me my “flow” has greatly improved in the past few weeks, and I’m becoming much more confident and efficient. Eee!

On Friday’s I head to football, where I tape, stretch, watch, assess, and dress cuts and abrasions. And banter with the players. I’m no longer known as “trainer #2”, “other trainer”, “that girl”, or “not Nikki” anymore. I am now acknowledged as “Trainer Kat”. They can’t figure out my full name, which majority of the population can’t apparently. I’ll take it though, it has a good ring to it.

I had a big moment at this week’s game. Even though it was pretty chilly, I got 3 half-decent heel-locks in a row (if you don’t know what this is, just know that it’s a huge challenge for me) in my ankle taping (3/6 for that event- definite improvement!), and performed an assessment/referral on a wrist fracture and concussion testing on two players–by myself! I also didn’t forget any steps like I usually do! I also managed to tape an ankle at half with hands that were completely numb from cold. That was a challenge. And it’s not even that cold out yet. During the game, my supervisor and the head trainer for the team, nudged me on the shoulder and pointed to one of the players ¬†I had taped and another player who I had dressed a cut on (and later assessed his wrist) and said “look, that’s your hard work out on the field- you can be proud of that”. After reading my reflections from the past couple weeks, she also let me know that she is really happy with me and has some more challenges for me in the next few weeks. I’m so lucky to be surrounded with teachers and peers who are willing to push me and challenge me exactly the way I need. It’s not uncommon for me to feel completely¬†overwhelmed a lot of the time. But at the same time I have had so many feelings of accomplishment alongside the overwhelmed feeling.

When I’m not in school, working, taping footballers, cooking, reading, researching, riding, or sleeping- I’m working out, coaching, and practicing taping. This weekend I got back into the gym, and started lifting actual weights again for the first time since May. Oh my gosh did that feel good. Overhead BB press and hex bar Deadlifts 10×5 followed by pushing the sled for 3x3min intervals. That’s a welcome back.

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Afterwards I took some time and used my friends foot to perfect some taping. An AT’s tape job is their best advertisement- or so my supervisor likes to say- so I’m really working not only on functionality but also presentation. My ankle taping is getting better and better, it’s by far the one I do the most. I can now do it in under 3 minutes. I also worked on some taping for turf toe (hyperextension) and arch support. Here’s some pictures!

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The last thing I’ve filled my schedule with is coaching a new client- which is such a nice way to finish up my crazy weeks. Working with a horse and rider that are willing to learn on a crisp fall morning- how much better could it get?

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This year has already been so crazy, in so many ways. I’ve been able to integrate my life as an equestrian into my school schedule. I’m getting to ride and coach, alongside work towards goals in the other part of my life. I used to worry about how these two parts of my life would fit together, but currently I’m getting a glimpse at how they can work really well together. Did this recap of the past while leave your head spinning? Don’t worry, mine too. I’m starting to see my future in a much clearer perspective now as I get more involved in the last half of my degree and gain real life experience in the field. I’m having to work so hard and the most minute things, but I’m being rewarded for it in sometimes the most abstract ways. I feel very blessed to have found things in this life that I am head over heels in love with. I’m thriving on surviving (feel free to throw this back at me when I’m complaining about midterms).

Each day brings a new challenge and a new goal to achieve. I hope I can keep keeping up!

 

 

 

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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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Of goals and other fluffy things

So I’m officially in my third year of University. Does that trip anybody else out, or just me? On the outside I look like a put together jaded 3rd year student, scoffing at first years and way over waiting in lines for anything. On the inside I’m still trying to figure out how I’m almost finished my Bachelor’s degree, and what the real world is. Things are getting real. Fast.

Besides the fact that it feels like my summer was a week long (oh wait, it was), it feels nice to be back on campus. It’s a very familiar place to be, and seeing all the familiar faces of the faculty makes it even better. I am getting the feeling, however, that this year is going to be more focused on dealing with the unfamiliars and the new rather than the comfort of a classroom or lab. Third year is the year legendary for AT students. It’s make it or break it time.

It’s going to take some effort to get my brain back into full school mode. It’s still thinking concentration is optional. Which is less than ideal. I do have to give it some credit, though, as it’s handled many new experiences the past few weeks with regards to football and life in general- and for the most part taken them in stride. During said experience, anyway. My ability to deal with a laceration to the thigh of a player, or tape an ankle, or assess a new injury has grown so much over the past couple weeks. In the moment not much can phase me. I’m hoping that eventually the time it takes me to resume a normal thought process after practices comes down- as right now I’m pretty much a zombie for the remainder of the day. My big happy dance moment for today’s practice was absolutely nailing my ankle inversion tape job. I’ve been practicing it everyday as I tape a couple of the players on a regular basis- but today after a weekend off taping all together, the stars aligned and nothing could get in the way of my heel-locks. Heck yes!

We have our first game this Friday, and while I’m excited for yet another first experience in the AT world, that excitement also comes with an overwhelming sense of nervousness. Again, mostly because it’s new and a big first in my career. I’m so lucky to have a great AT supervising and teaching me, as well as a great Faculty behind me. Here’s hoping I’m able to keep my cool during and after Friday’s game!

I’ve been in the process of setting a few goals for myself for this school year, most of them are focused around my basic survival- some are just for fun.

1) Keep my nutrition on track. 

This is going to be an interesting one, mostly because it really will require me to be a big girl about buying groceries, planning meals, and cooking. Like, really cooking. Why is this important for my survival? Other than the basic human need to eat, I will function so much better if I put a little extra effort into eating the right things for what my body needs. I’ve learned the hard way that nothing goes well for me if I try and live off KD. The fact that I have scheduled Wednesday evenings to try new recipes with my bestie is going to help, I think. There won’t be any KD cooked on those nights, I can guarantee that.

2) Not over schedule my already over scheduled schedule. 

Say that one 5 times fast.

But seriously. Within this week, I’ve already said yes to one, potentially two (equally awesome) opportunities that while giving me great experience and connections have completely filled up my time table. One is still on the table, but the one I’ve said yes to came up sporadically, but was impossible to say no to (in this situation I need to really think about how nothing is impossible). Seriously though, I couldn’t really turn up working with three prominent profs, and researchers, teaching and assisting in their older adults exercise class… could I? Not only am I gaining clinical exercise prescription experience, but I’m getting to hang out with three talented and influential professors. The other opportunity would be volunteering with a local riding program, assisting with inner city and troubled youth while they learn how to care and ride horses. I’m meeting with the coordinator tomorrow to talk out some details before I make my decision on that one. Again, it’s going to be hard to say no to an opportunity like that!

3) Follow the work out program I designed

This one is just for fun. You may remember the case study I did this spring, focusing on a exercise program for the elite equestrian athlete. It’s based around an transition (off-season), pre-season, and competitive phase program, and loosely follows the school year (seeing as I designed it loosely based off my own schedule). I got an A on that case study, and I have a bad habit of training too hard in the off-season and burning out, or not training enough and having old injuries reappear (where I’m at currently). I figure seeing as I already put the effort into designing a progressive program, why not see how functional it actually is by following my own advice?

4) Use the text-books I spent a lot of money on. 

Students are notorious for this. I’m saying that because I’m in denial about the fact that I may be the only one who does this. Buying textbooks, having all the intention of studying from them and doing extra reading.. and then they never get opened. I honestly plan on not doing that this year- mostly because I think I wouldn’t get very far in many of my courses if I didn’t. Also because I am legitimately interested in all the topics they cover. It’s going to happen. Seriously, it is.

5) Ask questions

I tend to be the quietest person in class- and then end up emailing the prof asking a bunch of questions I could just have easily asked in person in class. Every year I seem to get more and more confident when it comes to speaking out in class- so maybe this year I’ll finally put on my big girl pants and not be afraid to engage in discussions as much. It will probably help that one of the profs I have for quite a few classes knows me well enough to call me out if I’m avoiding eye contact. Or looking confused. She also knows that I’ve had enough injuries of my own to have valid first had experience, which is nice when in classes like taping or assessment. Long story short, I think I’ll be learning to talk more this year.

 

That’s a very short list of some of the goals I have for myself, starting now. One of the biggest goals for me is to not burn out as hard as I did last year. That goal will be achieved by making an honest effort at the goals listed above, and some not listed. This year is going to be a challenge, mentally and physically. Day one was all that and more, and it was only day one. I never knew I could love something so much, but also just want to curl up in a dark place and hide/nap from the real world too. I’m interested to see how this plays out, and how I go about achieving the goals I have and am still in the process of setting. I always make them happen one way or another.

Right? Right.

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Looped Conversations

Do you ever find yourself having the same conversation, over and over again? Whether it’s with others- or inside your own head. It could be about your goals, the latest thing to happen to you, where you plan to go next, what so and so did last weekend and how hilarious that thing was. Or maybe it’s that you have to work harder, things are happening and you can’t slow down otherwise they’ll stop. Anyone been there? How about ¬†the classic “nobody will respect me if I don’t do this, or achieve this”. Along with this conversations, inwards and outwards, might be arguments. Differences of opinion, causing a ongoing discussion- many times within our own minds.

I’m not the only one to do this.. right?

It’s a good thing most of the time. Allowing us to push past the barriers we set for ourselves, break our own standards, and get closer to our goals. It’s what keeps determined people determined. It’s what helps us break bad habits. Whether it is people in our lives telling us that we can do something, even when our head is saying “no, I can’t”. It’s the opposite of that, the “yes, you can” voice when everyone else is saying “that’s impossible, you’re crazy”. I believe it’s important to have a balance between those two. They generally keep things in a good perspective, when utilized properly. Often it’s that inner voice that helps us to do what’s right for us, when that is the most important thing.

What about those conversations, those stories we end up telling day after day, to different people (or sometimes the same people again and again)? Are those words, those events we keep retelling, what make up who we are? I read somewhere once that our memories are reconstructed every time we think of them. I know from personal experience that memories I have seem to become different over time. Usually becoming more positive as I realize how I’ve grown and learnt from the original events. Things that once seemed like it was the worst thing ever turn into a good story and something to laugh at. Life is always changing, and so are we- therefore it’s pretty hard to let something like words describing an event, or a continuing debate or conversation define us. Who we are today is not necessarily who we were yesterday (coming from someone who is recovering from ¬†concussion, I can vouch for the truth in that statement #moodswings).

Where am I going with this? I’m not really sure, I lost that train of thought 400 words ago.

I was having trouble thinking of what to write about this week, because my life has drastically slowed down as I’ve been doing my best to recover from this concussion. I would usually write about how crazy my life was, and what I did in the past week to work towards goals, or what new goals I’d set, or what crazy obstacle the universe had thrown at me. I’ve already covered the concussion issue a few times, so I didn’t want to focus on that for yet another week. Truthfully, I’m tired of thinking about concussions, and symptoms. As much fun as they are.

I have lots of those “looped conversations” in my life (you’ve probably noticed a few in my posts.. I natter about the same things over and over sometimes (sorry)). Whether it’s about school (which courses am I taking, what order, with who, planning the final years of my degree, etc), riding, working (you’re doing how many jobs?!), time management, diet, and it goes on. I often refer to my life as being 3 separate lives, my time being split between studies, riding, and work- with some time left over for my own fitness and friends and family. All those things kind of tie into each other though, and more and more I am finding ways to integrate all those different parts of me into one big me. The things I study not only have drastically improved my riding and fitness, but also changed the way I think about things. Work not only pays for riding, but more than one of my jobs also lets me use skills I’ve developed through both sport, school, and past experience. My friends and family are a big part of the reason I can handle all those different things at once. With all these things going on and feeding into each other, how could I not have lots to talk about to those around me- but also within myself. Those conversations didn’t necessarily stop when all the other things got put on hold. You may have picked up from the earlier posts regarding this injury (and other for that matter), that I wasn’t in the best state of mind.. necessarily.. when it came to accepting the whole rest and recovery idea. I looked for every excuse I could find- going as far as asking many of the people in my life for advice, somewhat hoping they would say something that I could interpret towards not slowing down and just pushing through. Luckily for me, I was only met with the answer I needed to hear (over and over again). So while those ongoing conversations inside my head are something that keep me moving and determined so much of the time, this week I had to work towards using them to do the exact opposite.

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Nothing.

Surprisingly, I actually was able to also quiet all those conversations in the process. Which was actually really nice. I spent a couple days just laying in the sun, on a dock, on the river. Listening to the birds, instagraming the crap out of the scenery,¬†sprouting more freckles, and just doing and thinking nothing. Absolutely nothing. How’s that for brain rest? To steal a quote from a friend, being a “human being, not a human doing”.

When I wasn’t doing nothing, I was doing passive activities like making paleo cheesecake, napping, instagraming pictures of my food, testing my concentration levels, and visiting my horse (while being watched like a hawk by M- I swear, he thinks I’m going to somehow spontaneously melt). Speaking of the horse- A HUGE thank you to everyone at the barn who as gotten him out of the stall for me every once in a while (looking at you Lauren, Laura, Megg, and Marilyn). So comforting to know that he is in good hands.

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So now we’re entering Week 3 of recovery. Here is where I attempt a slow progression back into my regular lifestyle (don’t worry I have permission this time). Slow being key. I started by a short, easy 3 mile ride on the stationary bike while at work. Exercise progression starts with aerobic, once I am back to a higher intensity on that front I can move back into resistance training and riding. I worked a full day yesterday, and felt great.

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The absolute mountain of paperwork I was greeted with Monday morning. Just screams “welcome back” doesn’t it?

After work I made the mistake of trying to work on my case study- and had to stop after 20 minutes because of dizziness. I was only able to work half a day at my full time job this morning, as the dizzy spells were aggravated by my tasks at work. Should have seen that coming as when I woke up in the morning and was getting my stuff ready, I tried to pack my phone charger which I was convinced was my water bottle. Can’t explain that one. Tomorrow I’ll try a full day again. The only on-going symptom left over is fatigue. I just can’t seem to get my energy back. The doctor said that was likely, and that with time it would return. It’s still very much one day at a time. Definitely hit my head a lot harder then I originally thought.

How was that for writing about a week of nothing? I tell you I could make an essay out of just about anything. Mad talent.

Below you’ll find many snap shots of food, and random photography from the week. Just for fun.

Wish me luck with getting back to normal, or whatever you call my life!

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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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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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