My Year By Design

The journey to living by design.

Archive for the tag “#DailyJoy”

My last day of On Ramp

I recently completed the On Ramp course at West London CrossFit. After a half-year break from CrossFit, I needed a way to ease back into training and I’m very glad I chose this way! I really feel ready to get back to regular classes. My skills are back up to par and I even corrected some mistakes I’d been making previously without even knowing it.

Everyone graduates from On Ramp by running the same WOD (workout of the day) that they completed day one. The trainers recorded both times so we could see how much we’d improved in On Ramp. I wasn’t sure if my time would drop because I had done this workout a number of times before this round of On Ramp. I was pleasantly surprised to see a drop of a little more than a minute.

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On Ramp was designed to introduce people to all the essential movements and skills of CrossFit. However, it was also a great refresher for me. If you’ve taken a break too, don’t be afraid to come back. Don’t quit just because it’s easier. Talk to your coach about refresher options if you need a little help getting back to your best habits.

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Bonus Art Assignment: Art Trip Tijuana Part 2

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3. Try to see if you can name those people before you meet them:

Women in their 40s walking their dogs – the Carols.

Kids under 15 riding their bikes – The Zachs.

Retired men walking for exercise – the Carls.

New parents pushing strollers – the Jones.

4. Meet them and find out the connection between your image and who they really are.

I decided to start with one of the Carls.

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This particular Carl walks down our street with his walker once a day as long as it’s not too hot or too cold out. When he gets to my front yard, he takes a break and sits on the seat attached to his walker. Sometimes he reads his mail after he retrieves it from the mailbox across the street. I think the walking is physical therapy. When he first began this routine, I saw him walking with a number of different women in scrubs who looked to be home care workers. Since the photo above doesn’t show his face, I thought it might be alright to share it.

So one day when I say this Carl sitting in front of my house, I went out to get my mail. As I passed by him I said ‘hello,’ but Carl didn’t answer. I tried it twice more on other days but still nothing. Maybe he doesn’t like strangers? Maybe he didn’t hear me? Well, for now this is as close as I can get to completing this art assignment. #theartassignment

Bonus Art Assignment: Art Trip Tijuana Part 1

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This is a big art assignment so I’m going to have to divide it into parts. Luckily I live in a neighborhood full of walkers so it’s easy to people-watch as I walk.

  1. Put away your devices and walk around the block. Done and done. IMG_2709  IMG_2725
  2. Make a list of 4 kinds of people who live around your neighborhood.

Women in their 40s walking their dogs.

Kids under 15 riding their bikes.

Retired men walking for exercise.

New parents pushing strollers.

Next week I’ll try tackling the other steps. #theartassignment

Ramping Up

So I’ve now completed half of the On-Ramp program at West London Crossfit. I’m really glad I arranged to retake this class as a way to return to Crossfit training. I’m trying to get back to my best habits and I know it’s better if I do it in small steps like the ones provided by On-Ramp. I’m getting a refresher in all the basics, (warm up, lifting, mobility, etc.) and now my form will be much better when I join the regular classes again. I’m sore from class but I feel good. I’m slowly starting to feel stronger and more confident.

I’ve gotten a pretty universal reaction from the coaches and Crossfit regulars. They look at me quizzically for a minute and then say something like, “You still train here?” I smile and tell them that I took a break but that I’m back now. Everyone is welcoming. Two more weeks of On-Ramp to go and then I’ll be back to CrossFit training. I’m looking forward to it.

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Art Assignment 50: Vehicular Palette

I chose to focus on the number of seat belts in each car my family has owned because seat belts are the one part of the car that every driver and passenger should use in the same way to be safe. Here is my data visualization:

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It still looks more like math than art to me but it was fun to complete this project because it was so different from what I usually think of as ‘making art’. #theartassignment

On Ramp

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I’ve been a member of West London Cross Fit since it opened several years ago. However, I stopped going last December. I had a bad bout of anxiety and I needed the time off to work on that before I could worry about building muscle.

Now that I’m feeling more stable, I’ve decided to go back. Today I attended my first On Ramp class. On Ramp is a program that West London Cross Fit runs to get people ready to start Cross Fit. During three classes a week for four weeks, On Rampers learn all the movements used in Cross Fit from stretches, to burpees, to proper bar bell lifts. Even though the classes are targeted for beginners, I asked the coaches if I could re-take the class to properly ease me back into my full workout routine.

My first class was really good. I like taking the time to review the basics and improve my overall form. I worked hard and I sweated. Beginner class or not, Cross Fit is a great burn. I’m looking forward to my second class already. This just goes to show that I am strong enough to go back to my best habits, even when I’ve taken a break.

Art Assignment 49: Conjure a Studio

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This Art Assignment reminded me of being a teenager, living in my parents’ house and feeling like I had the smallest bits of privacy. I used journals and sketchbooks as my studio. I decorated them with bright collages laminated with packing tape and they were where I wrote and sketched and drew. My parents always respected these journals and never looked at them unless I wanted to share something I had done. I was smart enough to keep them after high school and they live in a wooden chest in my bedroom. I dug out two of my favourite sketchbooks and decided to share their covers with you.

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So these are my teenage studios and I still love them. Oh, you want to see what’s inside them?

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Did you miss it? Did I flip through too fast? Sorry folks, I’m not quite ready to share my high school creations. #theartassignment

Art Assignment 48: Measuring Histories

For this assignment, I decided to trace all the places I’ve lived so far. I defined living somewhere as any place where I stayed for more than a month. I don’t consider myself terribly well-traveled at this point but I have lived in some neat places. All of the maps except one are within Canada. Being Canadian and living in Canada is a proud part of both my personal and cultural history.

None of these maps are to scale with each other and that is on purpose. Instead, I used how I felt about these places and how I imagine them mapped out in my mind to give them the scale I think they each require in relation to each other.

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This idea of tracing my history across maps reminds me of a conversation I had with my husband Nick when we first met. As we were getting to know each other, it became apparent that we had lived within a few blocks of each other for years and had never met. We went to the same grocery store and bank, we even had the same dentist. We even found out we’d both attended some of the same concerts and music festivals over the years. I lived in London for five and a half years before he and I ever met. I like these idea of us slowly circling each other around the city, pulling towards each other a bit at a time.

Trying the Stop, Breathe & Think App

So I’ve been using the Stop, Breathe & Think app for a couple of weeks now and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a really simple app to use.

First I check in about how I feel mentally and physically. Then I can choose up to five emotions to add in. Based on that the app suggests a list of meditations that are suited to how I’m feeling. I do the meditation and then check in again to see if it changed my mood. Alternatively, I can just go to the full list of meditations and choose any track I like.

I like these meditations. They are straightforward and good for beginners as well as experienced folks. This app is really helping me make meditation a part of my weekly routine. It’s so easy to pop on my headphones and meditate for a few minutes. I especially like using this app when I’m trying to relax after a long day. My favourite meditation so far has to be “Falling Asleep”. It’s so calming and always helps me drift off. I really recommend this free app if you have any interest in learning how to meditate or in practicing meditation regularly.

Contentment, not joy

I think I can now safely say my recovery is going well. Like any good teacher, I’m going to give myself a bit of a report card on my mental health.

My process:

  • Taking my antidepressants every day.
  • Going to therapy bi-weekly or weekly as needed.
  • Working out more.
  • Eating less sugar and fewer grains, (both of which make my anxiety worse.)
  • Spending more time with friends and family.
  • Giving myself more downtime.
  • Meditating a few times a week.

Results:

  • I feel stronger each day. I feel anxious less often.
  • I feel more confident.
  • I’m sleeping better.
  • I’m laughing more.
  • I’m not fully joyful yet but I feel contented. I think I’m on my way to joy.

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