Transform Your Life.

I have an app on my phone called “Transform Your Life: A Year of Awareness Practice.” The app reads ” Awareness Practice is practicing living in conscious compassionate awareness…” So basically, it is the process of discovering the reactions that we were conditioned to have as children, dropping them and living free. This is not easy by any means. It requires that we live in a constant state of self- awareness and I cannot say I have been able to do so for more than 5 minutes. It requires mental strength and a willingness to be more open minded than we can even comprehend. Each day, you are given a task to carry out for the day accompanied by a quote. This was today’s quote and task

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When I first saw it, I took a double take. Everyone knows it’s up to things to change; we just have to wait for them to do so. Yet the more I thought about it, the more the quote made sense. Why keep sitting around waiting for things to change when you can take the bull by the horns and be the change?

Day ?

Yep. That’s where I am at. I don’t know what day this is. And truth be told, I don’t care. I thought it would take me longer to learn my lesson but I think I am almost done learning it. I am not going to make it to 30 days and I am currently making my peace with that decision. Bottom line is I started this cleanse for the wrong reasons and that was not good enough to sustain me. I still have issues that I need to deal with but a juice cleanse is not the answer in this case. My initial cleanse did what it was supposed to and now I have to take other steps to achieve my goals. I think some part of me expected my initial juice cleanse to cure all my bad habits including laziness and self-control/discipline but of course that could not be. Life is about constantly learning and improving and I am going to have to find my next learning vehicle. As mentioned previously, I will always juice but unless something drastic happens, it should not be necessary for me to do a 72 day cleanse again and therefore I will always feel a sense of nostalgia for that process. I am grateful for what it gave me but I need to move forward.

Day 2

I know the first couple of days are hard and that it will get better but I am so ready for it to get better! I am know I am strange, but I watch cooking videos on YouTube in order to fall asleep. At the beginning of my 72 day fast, I was unable to watch any videos for at least a month but so far I have done so with ease every night. I had a smoothie this morning and made oranges, turnip greens and spicy basil to take to work. I did not finish that but when I got home I was craving something sweet and so I had 2 cups of banana smoothie. I felt greedy having two helpings but I reminded myself that I was indulging in something healthy. On to day 3!

Juice Fast/Feast Take II!

Today marked the official end to my first day of juicing. I had an orange-collards-spicy basil juice accompany me to work and I cheated and had a banana smoothie when I got back from work. I am honestly amazed at … Continue reading

Savage race II

So, the Savage Race was a week ago and I am still on a high about it. I got an email form the organizers about a Fall race and I am seriously considering it. The loser friend I participated with got her fill of obstacle races and vowed that she would never participate in a race like this again. Of course I feel very differently as I enjoyed it immensely. My one gripe was having to pay $10 for parking and a $20 spectator entry fee for my personal photographer but other than that, I have no complaints. I briefly considered maybe organizing or joining a team for the Fall race but I think I am too much of a solo competitor. While we did not exactly have a team strategy in place, my friend and I did sign up for the race together and I guess that may have made us a pseudo-team. Unfortunately I regret to say that I left her behind one mile into the race. In my defense, she was going too slowly and I was trying to make good time! I know I know, thats not an excuse because were it not for people sitting at the top of the obstacle Colossus – 40 foot wall you scale with a rope, I would not have made it to the top. By  the time I made it to the wall, it was slippery with mud and water and climbing it was near impossible without aid.

So the race began with Shriveled Richard, a nice bath in ice cold water. There was truck parked right next to the “bath tub” filled with ice for replenishment in case the bath was not icy enough. While I was well aware of this obstacle and jumped right in, I was not prepared for the physical shock it caused my body. It took a few seconds to complete and that was plenty. Miles went by and I came upon Nutt Smasher – balance beam on crack! The beam wobbles, is slippery from contestants falling in and splashing the beams and down right difficult. I was determined to cross and not end up in the water and I did although I think the volunteer in charge of  the obstacle got a little frustrated with my pace. Whatever, I finished it and thats all that mattered to me. As I jogged off feeling quite pleased with myself, I saw Davy Jones’ Locker looming up ahead and stopped in my tracks. This is an over 25 ft jump into 12 ft of water with a caution sign at the bottom of the stops stating that it is for experienced swimmers. Now I am by no means a swimmer as I have a phobia for large bodies of water and don’t even know if I can tread water but I was determined not to pass any obstacles. As I climbed the steps to the top, I kept up a dialogue in my head psyching myself up for the task ahead. Once it was my turn, I took a deep breath and jumped! Before jumping in, I had asked one of the volunteers how deep the water was and she replied 12 ft. However, after my jump, it seemed to take forever to resurface. And then I heard a voice say, I think your shirt wants to play peek a boo. It appears that as I jumped into the water, my shirt came up and over my head. I was being rescued by one of the lifeguards at the obstacle. He steered me to shore with his surf board and I got out. As I did, I realized that my chest felt unusually chilly, upon looking down I realized that my shirt was not the only thing that had come up when I hit the water- so had my bra! Pulling it down quickly and what I hoped was inconspicuously, I went on to complete the rest of the obstacles. Tazed hurt more than I expected it to and Evil bars – monkey bars on steroids, was the one obstacle I did not attempt. So there you have it, my experience at Savage Race. I am left with no regrets, no injuries and thoughts of competing again.

Savage Race complete!

I did it! I did it! Yeah I did it! I want to thank all my sponsors: my black work out clothes that got muddy but kept me warm and my Vibrams which stayed on the whole race and provided great traction in the mud. I do have to chastise my sports bra for coming off and flashing the crowd twice, you and I are done! All in all, I had a great time. I completed all but one of the obstacles as the modified monkey bars were too much for my arms to handle. And not being able to complete this obstacle led me to the decision to compete again next year and annihilate these bars. My mother says I have the bad habit of not acknowledging the importance of events or items until I am aware of external acknowledgement. This goes against my drive to become self reliant as far as motivation is concerned but there is some truth to her words. Upon completion of the race, I was proud of myself, on a scale of 1-10, between a 6 and 7. However, as I perused Instagram and saw the pride other runners were taking in completing the race and more so finding athletes and trainers who said the race had been hard or hurt themselves in the course of  it, I began to feel a greater sense of pride. I faced each challenge head on and completed every single one. I did not place but I completed and that enough makes my pride soar to a 10! I am currently sore, bruised and physically exhausted but immensely proud of myself. I completed all 7 miles of the Savage race and came out victorious! Yay me!

The following are some shots from the race to hold you over till tomorrow when I shall tell you about my flashing the crowd while jumping 30ft into 12ft of water.

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An overview of the course.

This is the splash I made landing in the water after the wall of death.

This is the splash I made landing in the water after the wall of death.

This was easy!

This was easy!

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Now this was the wall of death. A lot of people either gave up or did not bother attempting this obstacle. I did and I conquered it!

Savage Race!

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Tomorrow at 0920 I will take on the Savage Race. 5-7 miles of obstacles designed to kick your butt. I am both excited and nervous as there will be electrocution and an ice bath and these are not even the worse obstacles I shall face. I know that completing this race will only make me more confident about myself and strive to become stronger. I started races because a friend forced invited me. I did not train for it and was amazed when I beat her: I was hooked! I am hooked mainly because of my competitive nature and this drives me through every single race. I used to look to others to motivate me to feel better about myself, to eat better, to workout more, but with each race I complete, I stop looking for external motivation and feed more into the personal cheerleader who lives inside of me.

I won’t be able to take my camera with me on the race, obviously as there are aquatic obstacles so here is a sampling of what I shall be encountering!

Savage Race Video

Food!

I came home last night with the best of intentions to blog but somehow ended up caught in a conversation about sexual phobias and pubic hairs with my friends. So it came 0500 in the morning and I was still awake. I joked to my friend that maybe counting sheep would help us go to sleep but to be honest, that has never worked for me. My imagination is so vivid that the sheep never stay sheep, pretty soon they turn into cows jumping over the moon. And then the scene is no longer  Old MacDonald’s farm but outer space where the aliens join in for a game of beer pong. Yeah counting sheep does not work for me.

So when I started this post yesterday, it was going to be about plans to embark on a 30 day juice fast. I must tell you that the initial idea was for it to last 7 days but somehow I have ended up with 30 days and if I don’t start it soon I may end up at 72 again! I have to admit I am very excited though. There is honestly something very calming for me about being on a juice fast. I feel like I am regaining control of my food addiction, I am conquering it and showing it who is boss! It may not be the best method but it is my method. So in honour of giving up food for 30 days, I present to you my pictures of food I have eaten in the last couple of months.

… Okay I tried but Kahlo fka Moira (my computer) must be PMSing so sorry, no photos tonight. Come back tomorrow!

 

Photo editing… In progress.

So as I have mentioned previously, or maybe not, I am a photographer. I used to be wary about using the word “photographer” to describe myself but the more I take pictures and learn more about my abilities, the more I know that I have a gift which if nurtured carefully will become phenomenal. I realized early on that I am not a portrait artist. I do not like posed individuals; give me candids any day. There is something to be said about catching a person in their natural state, unaware of everything including me and my camera. The same reason why people go to a safari to watch animals in their natural habitat is the same reason I love taking candids ( yes I just compared my subjects to wild animals). My belief is that you can pose people any and everyday but catching unique moments in the day of the life of a person cannot be replicated. Lately, I have also come to realize that I love black and white photos. Take this picture for example…

CollageBoth pictures have merit and without getting too technical, it suffices to say that neither is more beautiful than the other. I don’t remember when I first saw Ansel Adams’ work but I did not have a positive reaction. I thought his pictures were boring even going as far as to ask myself why anyone would want to take black and white photos when color was so readily available. As I began to get more serious about photography, I revisited his work and was struck by their beauty in the absence of colours. And that is why he remains my greatest inspiration to this day. Ansel is famous for his pictures of the American landscape but if I can do with candids what he did with nature, I could not be happier. I feel like I still have a lot to learn about photography but as the saying goes, you stop learning when you die. So while I may not yet be the Ansel Adams of candids, I know that I take beautiful pictures and it can only get better from here!

The following were taken in Cancun, Mexico. A Canon T4i and Canon 50mm lens were used to capture the photos. Pic Monkey was used to watermark the photos

Once again we have "Happy Chicken". I love this picture which is the sign for one of the restaurants at the resort. I loved the name of the restaurant.

Once again we have “Happy Chicken”. I love this picture which is the sign for one of the restaurants at the resort. I loved the name of the restaurant.

This was my second time at the resort and on the previous visit, I had taken a picture of these wheels. However, upon analyzing them on my return and talking it over with a photographer mentor of mine, I made some changes to the composition and voila! I like this photo for how the wheels lean on each other and the white rocks scattered around.

This was my second time at the resort and on the previous visit, I had taken a picture of these wheels. However, upon analyzing them on my return and talking it over with a photographer mentor of mine, I made some changes to the composition and voila! I like this photo for how the wheels lean on each other and the white rocks scattered around.

I probably took over 20 shots of her in a 10 minute period and not once did she move. Where was she?

I probably took over 20 shots of her in a 10 minute period and not once did she move. Where was she?

It was a hot day. We had been walking around in what seemed like 200 degree weather. She is obviously feeling the heat but her body language is relaxed and calm.

It was a hot day. We had been walking around in what seemed like 200 degree weather. She is obviously feeling the heat but her body language is relaxed and calm.

Travel Junkie cont.

This is a continuation of a post I started weeks ago but you can read it here!

So my friends and I were stuck in Brussels with the next flight not leaving until 2 days later. Putting our heads together we came up with the website http://www.flightstats.com. When we pulled up Brussels to Douala, we could not find any viable options. We did find a flight leaving the next day from Paris and so we moved on to figuring out how to get to Paris. We opted out of using the train because it would take us only 90 minutes to get there leaving with a whole day and 6 suitcases to lug around Charles de Gaulle Airport. The next option was to rent a car and we were able to get a great deal from Hertz. Before we knew it, we were piled into an Opel Meriva ready to drive from Brussels to Paris with nothing but a little map we got from the Hertz counter.photo-8 I was designated the driver as the car was manual transmission and I was the most experienced. I drove  around Brussels for about an hour or so just so we could explore  but with no real sense of direction we tired quickly and decided to head towards Paris. Using our map, we figured that the R0 made a loop around the city of Brussels and from there we could hop on the A8 towards paris. After a few wrong turns we made it on the A8 and our road trip began in earnest. As a traveller it is not unusual that most of my greatest friendships were cemented on (a) trip(s). My 1st college best friend and I bonded on several 15 hour Greyhound trips and my 2nd college best friend and I bonded on a trip to London wherein we had to share an attic room and a slightly smaller than twin size bed. This trip was no different and I look forward to many more trips with my travel companions. We pulled into Paris at about 9pm and from memory alone of my last visit I was able to get us to the Eiffel Tower and Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

Exhausted by now, we decided to find a cheap hotel. Wouldn’t you know it, there was an Expo in town and all the hotels we stopped at were booked for days! Well instead of getting upset we kept the money we would have paid for the hotel and spent the night in the car! The only downside of this was that I parked in a hotel lot that had motion sensitive lights and so every time one of us turned or moved in the car, the light came on. It seemed even a deep breath turned that light on! We woke up at about 5am and headed for the airport, each of us expressing sadness at having to turn the car in, as it seemed like the end of a glorious adventure. And guess what? That Opel Meriva took us from sightseeing in Brussels, to Paris and sightseeing some more, turned on with the heat blasting for 5 hours and then to the airport on just under a 3/4 tank of gas! Now is that impressive or what?

photo-9photo-6**Travel Junkie Tip**

If you miss a flight or get stuck at an airport, use http://www.FlightStats.com to find other airlines, flights and alternate routes for getting to your destination.