August 8, 2019

We are free to think and say whatever we’d like. But did you know that your brain is always listening?

Studies by developmental biologists such as Bruce Lipton are showing over and over again that our brains hear what we say. Specifically, that our subconscious mind (the part that ensures we respond exactly how we are programmed) takes our words and beliefs and turns them into our actions.

Speaking from a body and pain perspective, what we believe and tell ourselves has a lot to do with how our injuries resolve!

In the clinic every day I hear people speak about themselves with language that is totally counterproductive to healing. Our beliefs shape our reality. As is such, believing we are broken leads to actions that reflect brokenness.  Which in turn leads to more brokenness, (and – wait for it!) the reinforcement of our belief.

What do you believe that isn’t serving you?

 

About the Author: Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Posted in Jen's Journey, Wellness by Jen Wright | Tags: ,
March 12, 2019

Happiness doesn’t happen by accident. They say we are in charge of how we feel, and I believe it, even though during some of my lower moments I’d like someone else to blame. I’m 35 days into a personal project on happiness, and I’m already living proof that we can choose to be happy or sad.

Life happens all around us and we can’t control most of it. In fact, the general consensus is that about 90% of what happens to us is beyond our personal control. So how do we maintain composure when someone rear-ends our car? Or a snowstorm derails our plans? Or our toddler spills our coffee all over aisle 3 of the grocery store?

Your Subconscious is Listening

Studies show that what we tell ourselves, we believe. Most of our thoughts are pre-programmed, with only about 5% of our thoughts being conscious. And unfortunately, most of our programming leans toward a negative bias. If you struggle with positive thoughts now, it’s likely you’re going to keep struggling with them.

This winter, I was struggling hard with keeping upbeat. The weather was oppressive. I have a lot of kids, and a business, and a small house (you get the idea). I needed a new focus, and a better coping strategy than simply counting the days until spring.

The solution is re-programming the subconscious. The way to do it? Repetition.

It’s easy to repeat negative things to ourselves. Positive things sometimes take more effort (and if we’re honest, they often don’t feel 100% true), but the subconscious is listening.

A Positive Challenge

Enter #100happydays. I first stumbled across this project in 2015, and I gave it a try. The idea was to post a picture of something that made you happy every day for 100 days in a row. It was brilliant, and I loved the experience. I opted to try it again, with a few rules:

 

  1. Minimize the ‘stuff’, maximize the feelings. It’s really easy to focus on an object or material thing and say that it makes us happy. Instead, I wanted to focus on the little things, experiences and nuances of my day. I felt it would create a richer experience.
  2. Be true. Whatever I posted about had to genuinely make me smile, laugh, or warm me up inside. No fake stuff.

 

And that’s it! It’s been 35 days so far and I’m loving the experience. Stay tuned for another update soon, but in the meantime, please feel free to follow my happy days on Instagram @wholetherapyjen

I’m also challenging each of you to pursue your own happiness!  Share your warm and fuzzies with us on Instagram @WholeTherapyOttawa

August 16, 2018

I’m not easily motivated anymore. I used to snap to attention the minute I saw a quote – any quote. The door of my room as a teenager was full of silver-penned wisdom in a spiral pattern. I gobbled up inspirational speeches like I was starving.

These days, it takes more to move me. I’ve become a little desensitized to the parade of stock photos and inspirational phrases marching across my social media feeds. I understand that I Am Worthy. I get that I have to Persist to Succeed. So now what? I need some more good life lessons to chew on!

When I decided to go to the Can Fit Pro Fitness Conference this year, I was apprehensive but excited. Surely someone there could motivate me. I wanted to be moved.

I wasn’t disappointed. Having trouble being motivated? Try this:

  • Surround yourself with ‘better’ people. Stronger people. More flexible, more educated, more worldly, more affluent. It’s true what they say: if you’re the best in the room, you’re in the wrong room. I took an advanced flexibility class. I took a Pound: Rockout/Workout class. I learned about reflexive stabilization during the gait cycle (I know, sounds intense!). All of these seminars pushed my comfort zone, challenged my brain, and reminded me of how much I don’t know. It was bliss.

If you’re the best in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

  • Watch other people get motivated. Five of us shared an apartment. We were able to have some down time in between sessions together, sharing what we learned from our various experiences. The excitement in people’s faces and voices when they just clicked with some piece of knowledge or resonated with someone’s lecture is amazing. It’s like watching a kid open birthday presents. I get filled up by that glow, and I saw it everywhere. Lightbulbs were almost literally going off in people’s heads everywhere I looked. Looking at the ways others were moved lit me up.

Meeting of the nerd-minds between sessions.

 

  • Hit all the senses. Simply reading motivational quotes doesn’t do it for me now. But sitting in a room hearing Petra Kolber talk about Detoxifying Perfectionism using her own real life examples as well as motivational quotes is. Listening to a pump-me-up song is fine, but what’s better is holding onto a pair of RipStix and drumming the ground like a seasoned Rockstar while the music thumps through the room. Watching a Zumba class from outside the gym studio is cool, but feeling the collective energy of the dance and the music as you pass by one on the trade show floor is So. Much. Better.

    Waiting to rock the Pound class.

While I didn’t digest major life-altering messages this weekend, the content within the CanFit conference left me with lots to mull over. And despite my sensitization to motivation, I found that I was definitely spurred into action by what I saw, heard, and experienced.

 

Until next year, CanFitPro!

 

About the Author: Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

June 19, 2018

Molly helped me run the hills today (in her snowflake jammies)

I’m training for a spartan race in July. It’s a bigger one than I’ve done in the past – 15 kms instead of 5. The race takes the participants up and down Calabogie Peaks, winding through 25 strategically placed obstacles along the way.

I will have to scale walls, crawl through mud, carry sandbags, throw spears, and climb ropes in my quest for the finish line.

This race will mark my return back into the realm of Being Strong, as it’s the first true test of my endurance and overall fitness since having my daughter, Finley last year. I was sedentary most of the pregnancy due to an SI joint injury, and my postpartum recovery was long and tedious as a result. There were many times over the last year when I worried I’d never be able to feel strong again. I heard a lot of “Well, you HAVE had a baby…” and “Your body really isn’t ever the same”, and “You ARE 36 now, that’s quite a few years since the last baby…”

Despite the naysaying (from others AND from myself) I pushed on with my training, stubborn in my resolve to feel capable like I once did. I looked to Trainer Jamie for help with strategic strengthening. I relied on my workout partners Bailey, Ana, and Yvette to set the bar high and motivate me with their own fitness levels. And I used my colleagues at Whole Therapy and their various chiropractic, physiotherapy and massage skills along the way when I inevitably needed my joints and muscles worked on.

And here I am, at 7am on a Saturday, 6 weeks from Race Day, with my running shoes on and my water pack on my back, looking up Mooney’s Bay hill. I’m “sprinting” (read: sloooowly running) up the hill ten times, which will likely make me want to barf. But I’ll do it anyway. Because so far, even with the obstacles of having a baby, being injured and out of shape, and being older, being strong is so much more important than giving up.

Most journeys feel metaphorically like they’re an uphill battle. This one literally is. But with a lot of training, and a little luck, I can use my success with this upcoming race to prove to myself that not only am I physically Strong Again, but I’m also mentally able to bounce back from a weak mental state to a strong, confident one.

Wish me luck.

 

About the Author: Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

September 23, 2016

That Day in June, we had a conversation in the van.

“I think we should probably throw in the towel,” Husband Jamie said, “it’s been a long while and nothing’s happened. And I’m turning 40 soon.  I don’t think I want to start a whole fertility process.”

“It’s been almost five years,” I agreed, nodding, “and I don’t want to start a fertility process, either.”

We weren’t officially “trying”.  We hadn’t wanted to put a label on it, because it would have stressed us both out.  But the proverbial goalie had been out of the net since the littlest was born, and there had only been one pregnancy since: a five-week blip back in late 2012.  Since then, nothing.

I was pretty sure the Universe was telling us we were done.  And, despite being a little sad, I understood. I loved our family.  Three awesome kids, aged 14, 12, and 4. A great house. A wonderful extended family.  A business I loved. Life was good. It was just time to end this chapter.

IMG_4123

The gang

 

Flash back to That Day in June, Husband Jamie and I agreed that we would call our respective doctors to find out what was involved in the snipping/tying process. We went home to make dinner. I felt a little prickle of sadness, and then resolve; it was time to move on from the possibility of having another child.

There have been six pregnancies.  The first was a total surprise; we were living together but not engaged yet, with no plans to extend our family beyond the two from Husband Jamie’s previous marriage. And then, on the Pill, I conceived without knowing it.

 

pills

Whoops.

When we found out, it was a huge shock, but then it was over before the news had time to settle in.  There wasn’t even really time for sadness with that one – it had been so unexpected that it seemed surreal.

Once we got married, though, the losses were harder. We were planning to expand our family.  We wanted to do it in a hurry, before the kids got “too old.”  Kaity was 8 then, and Liam was 6.  I had three miscarriages that year, all before 8 weeks, and I felt helpless: why was this happening? Was it karma? Had I done something I needed punishing for?

Then, there was Molly.  A stronger plus sign on the test.  Fatigue.  Sore hips.  8 weeks came and went, then 9, then ten.  Ironically, despite my elation that the pregnancy was “sticking”, I was horrified at my changing body and resented my dwindling freedom. I felt fat, and cumbersome, and overwhelmed.

9-months-pregnant

So. Much. Belly.

My postpartum experience was full of anxiety and turmoil.  I told myself I never wanted another kid. Yet something inside me still insisted I wasn’t finished; I had an intense gut feeling that I would have another.

The years after Molly were filled with ovulation and pregnancy tests – at first to prevent pregnancy, and then, to welcome the possibility. I remained apprehensive.  There was that short short pregnancy in 2012 of only five weeks, and then nothing for four years.

~

That Night in June, I went upstairs because I had to pee. Husband Jamie was immersed in something on his phone, and Kaity and Liam were just heading to bed. I was due for my period the following day, but as a result of our conversation I wanted to do one last test, just to get it over with.

I went into the bathroom, peed in the cup, and dipped the stick, knowing that it would be negative, just like all of the months leading up to this. Relief suddenly washed over me as I waited; no more monthly testing, no more back-of-my-mind wondering if this month would be The Month.  We would be done this chapter, and I could focus on other things. I took a deep breath.  Yes. This was a good decision.  It was time to move on.

pregnancy test

Seriously, Universe?

Except there were two pink lines.  Then the second line got darker; it was unmistakable. I clapped my hand over my mouth to keep from exclaiming out loud.  Warmth flooded me.  Was I hallucinating?

I’m not sure how long I stood in the bathroom before numbly walking downstairs. Husband Jamie looked at me inquisitively.

“So… guess what?” I said.

He blinked. I didn’t even have to say it. “Are you &*%$ing kidding me?” he asked.

And then we laughed a little, for there wasn’t anything else to do. He put a hand on my belly.  “It’s a really good thing we bought a van”.

 

 

 

 

dafodil

Oh hi, #BabyDaffodil.

 

About the Author: Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

August 24, 2015

Husband Jamie and I took the kids wilderness camping at Algonquin Park a few weekends ago; it was their first time, and they loved it.

Gorgeous weather as we set out. What's not to love?

Gorgeous weather as we set out. What’s not to love?

When camping, one has a singular purpose: to survive.  There’s no luxury to camping in the wilderness, save for a decadent square of dark chocolate at the end of the evening, or a luxuriously dry pair of socks when your body is damp to the bone.

We pushed on, canoed until our arms and shoulders ached, carried our canoes and packs on our tired backs, found a place to rest, set up camp and made food to fuel us.  We slept when it darkened.  Then we woke up and did it again.  In between, we swam and laughed, interacted with each other (without the distraction of electronic devices), made up stories, sang songs, and observed the wonder of nature.  It was amazing.

Yes, the pack IS as heavy as it looks.

Yes, the pack IS as heavy as it looks.

The rhythm of camping and portaging is simple, satisfying.  I felt better about myself camping (dirty, calloused and aching) than usual, and I didn’t touch a phone or look into a mirror in over 72 hours.

That’s not an accident.

I was able to really feel my body on our trip. I felt the strength in my legs and back as I hefted my 65-pound pack (and added Little One’s pack to it as well, when she tired).  I felt my hunger rise up as we finished setting up tents: a natural reminder to eat for fuel rather than out of habit or boredom.  And I sank into sleep each night, sardined in with Middle and Oldest, I felt heavy and worked, and grateful to be lying down, and even though a thermarest is hardly a plush mattress, I slept like the dead.

If only life were so simple, I thought as we travelled – a clear purpose, a drive and need to succeed.

Reflecting on life in my journal.

Reflecting on life in my journal.

But life is so many shades of camping – not quite urgent, or so much more so, not quite survival, but living “to the fullest” – whatever that means.

Everything in nature does its best to adapt.  Not like humans, who try and shape the world around us to fit our own needs.  In nature, even an acorn blown by mistake to the edge of a cliff will grow sideways and thrive as it reaches for the sun.

img_0198school

We need to learn to grow sideways.

 

In this way, the simplicity of the wild is so much more advanced than our technologically brilliant society; we, in the acorn’s position, would look for a better, more advantageous spot to grow, and though we may grow straighter, taller, we would miss out on that amazing view. Not to mention, we would miss finding out what we are made of.

I thought about that acorn, and survival, a lot on our trip.  Obviously we were close enough to civilization that most emergencies could be easily rectified.  But most of our creature comforts were taken away: no couch to laze on. No phone to surf Facebook.  No coffee maker, no takeout, nothing quick. If I wanted a meal I had to work for it. If I wanted to be entertained I had to use my imagination.

Little One hams it up in the tent.

Little One hams it up in the tent.

There was no passivity, no boredom.  Only a deep sense of appreciation for the skills and strength I possess, my family, and all the beauty nature has to offer.

And now that we’re home, and continuing our journey here, I’m more than content with some wine, some good conversation, and a sunset.  More rolling with the punches, less trying to shape the world to my whims.

I want to see the view from the side of the cliff.

 

About the Author: Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

July 22, 2015

Got my red belt in karate this weekend. My first coloured belt; I’m no longer the lowest on the totem pole! My gi has pizzazz now: and I’m proud fit to burst.

Celebrate!

Celebrate!

So often, in the dojo and out in the world, I see people brushing off their achievements.

“Yeah, I just ran a 10k, but it’s not like it’s a marathon or anything.”

“I did just work for 5 years to lose that weight, but it’s no big deal; I really shouldn’t have been fat in the first place.”

“I got my red belt, but it’s just red – I have a long way to go before my black belt.”

Seriously. Can we cut out the false modesty?

Seriously.

Seriously. Cut it out.

Achieving things makes me happy and fulfilled.  As it should.  I work deliberately to get things done. I’m not the kind of person to whom things come naturally.

My fitness level? Worked my ass off (literally) to get here. I still work extremely hard; if I didn’t, I would be much weaker and flabbier.  My pear-shaped body likes to be softer; I was never the skinny kid, and I never will be able to just eat whatever and not gain weight.

So I take pride in completed workouts in which I did my best.

My business? I went through a lot of change and learning to open it.  Then a lot more to transition it to something I truly believed in.  It’s been tough – rewarding, but really tough.  Some days it stresses me out, and other days I revel in the smoothness of operations. But it’s never easy.

So I take pride in the new things I learn and the firm decisions I make.

And now, my red belt. In March, I had never done karate before. 4 months later and I’m committed to weekly (or more) classes in the dojo, and practice with Sensei Jamie outside of that. You’ll often find me brushing my teeth in shiko dachi, a wide-legged stance.  I have to repeat movements about a million times before I’m even serviceable at them (choreography of any kind is not my friend). I love every minute of each comfort-zone-pushing class.

karate red belt

It’s NOT just a red belt! It’s the culmination of my hard work so far. 🙂

So you’d better believe I’m not brushing these successes off.  You shouldn’t brush yours off, either!

Little triumphs can make the difference between a fulfilled life and an unfulfilled one.  If I work hard, I celebrate. I don’t need to win a gold medal in the Olympics to be proud of myself.

It’s not, contrary to popular opinion, arrogant or overconfident to celebrate your achievements, rather it’s a necessary component of living a happy life.

Did you exercise today? Pat yourself on the back.  Did you check any items off your to-do list? High five! Notice I didn’t ask you if you’ve hit your goal weight or completed your to-do list; those are bigger celebrations.  The little ones count too, though, and should be recognized.

Whether it’s a belt in karate, getting my shopping done, eating well today, or something else, I’m going to continue to live deliberately, working towards and celebrating the milestones, whether they are big or small.

Life’s too short: celebrate every bit of this journey.

 

About the Author: Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

June 18, 2015

In April I had the opportunity to speak at a Women’s Business Network breakfast, and I spoke about a topic that I deem extremely important.  Read on to find out how to start listening to the language of your body.

Your body is great.  I’ve said this before in another blog post, and I mean it.

Listening to the language your body speaks enables you to give it what it needs.  When you respect your body’s needs, you can nourish it in the right ways, and be healthier, more functional, and overall happier with life.

Too often we ignore the little signals our bodies give us.  Headache?  Just pop a pill.  Tired?  Just one more hour on the computer.  Stiff?  Ignore the discomfort, it’ll eventually go away, right?

Nope.  The body has the amazing ability to speak to you louder and louder until you get the message.  Eventually, it will make you pay attention, even if it has to shut you down with extreme pain or limitation.
outoforderWhen learning to listen, it’s vital that we deem ourselves important enough.  If we don’t, we’ll never understand our body’s language because that would mean we’d have to listen!  Many people get by on “good enough” but is that really okay?  Would “good enough” be an adequate health status for our children?  Our significant others?  No way!  Would you drive a vehicle every day that was only “good enough?”  Probably not.

And yet we “drive” our bodies around in that state all too often.  You are important.  Make sure you know that.  Because “good enough” within our own selves does not lead to greatness in our family lives, our relationships, or our businesses.

So how do I know what my body has to say?  Here are the steps to follow:

Tune In.dog-food-meditating-dog-medium-18624

What is your body saying?  Start simple.  How is your temperature right now?  I ask my clients this before every massage, and it tunes them in right away.  Too warm? Sweaty?  Chilly under a vent?  Just perfect?  Take a second and tune in to what your body feels about temperature.

Then, move on to discomfort.  Start from your head and work down to your toes.  Are you uncomfortable anywhere?  Are you extra aware of one side of your neck versus the other?  Are you sitting in a way that’s making your back hurt?  Are your knees creaky?  Discomfort and pain are often ignored because we feel we don’t have the time for them.  However, to paraphrase an oft-used quote, Those who think they have no time to deal with discomfort will sooner or later have to find time to deal with injury.

Once you have tuned in to your body’s sensations like cold/hot, hunger/satisfaction, or discomfort/pain, you’re on the right track.  Sensations are important because they connect you to what your body needs right now.

 

For use elsewhere.00_01_35_02.Still021

Honest assessments to get to the root of the issue.

Assess.  Why am I feeling this way?  It’s important that you assess without judging too much (it’s hard, I know).  Judging can lead to runaway emotions and turn small problems into big ones.

For example: The sensation of being too hot can lead to annoyance – I hate having these hot flashes! Stupid body!  Instead of judging, ASSESS: do you notice that they happen more often when you’re stressed?  More often in the morning? Can you see a pattern?  If you can, you’re closer to understanding your body’s language, and it can help with your emotional response.

The sensation of pain or discomfort can lead to anxiety – what’s wrong with me? Is this serious? Is it just a headache or something worse? Instead of judging, ASSESS: Why is my head hurting?  Am I dehydrated?  Have I been staring at this screen too long?  Did I sleep funny?  Asking simple questions can sometimes reassure you when it comes to pain.

 

takeaction

“Action always beats intention”

Take Action:  Now that you’ve discerned what your body is trying to tell you (or you’re on track), you need to take action.  It’s important not to tell your body to “shut up.”  Eventually, your body will make you listen, even if it has to shut you down in the process.

If you don’t know what action to take, that’s okay.  Asking for help is perfectly fine.  My colleagues and I help people learn to interpret their body’s language every day.  It’s a process of trial and error.  But you have to take some action, or nothing will happen at all.

If, while practicing, frustration creeps in, remember that’s normal.  We all want instant gratification:  I want my body to just be good! I want there to be no pain or discomfort!

Well I want my business to make a million dollars this year, and I want my kids to pick up their clothes without me asking a million times… but it doesn’t just happen!

You have to learn how to ask if you want results.  Learning to speak back to your body is as important as listening to it speak to you.  We’re not going to live healthy into our eighties by eating crappy food and being sedentary.  When we eat crappy food, we’re telling our bodies “Here, this is your fuel.”  When we exercise, we’re telling our bodies, “Get used to this; adapt; be stronger.”  By comparison, if you tell your body, “this computer posture is normal” eight hours a day, your body will adapt to that!

Remember that you are speaking to your body as much as it is speaking to you.  You can get help learning to listen to your body’s language, but for the most part, it just takes practice and perseverance, and an intuition that I know we all have (we are women after all!).

To recap: In order to be better at listening to the language of your body, first, TUNE IN to the physical sensations and the emotions that your body is presenting to you.  Tune in often.  Scan your body often.

Second, ASSESS why your body is speaking to you.  Why am I feeling this way?  If you can’t figure it out, ask for help.

And third, TAKE ACTION when your body speaks to you.  Take action in a timely manner, and use intuition as your guide.

Remember: even though it might not always feel like it, your body is great.  It’s great.  And it’s talking to you.  Make sure you listen.

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

May 26, 2015

I love treating runners.  I love, love, love it.  Not because I’m a runner myself, and not just because runners tend to be concerned for their own health and well-being (although I do love that about them).  Runners are a cohort of people that have an energy all unto themselves, and I love being a part of their journey.

run for the voices2I’ve been a runner now for 13 years.  Prior to 2002, I was an outright non-runner; my running experience was the sum of sprinting to catch buses combined with failed attempts to circle the track in high school.  The first time I attempted to run on purpose for recreation was in the summer of 2001.  I heroically clambered onto the treadmill at work (I was a personal trainer then) and decided to “run a short mile.”  I thereafter decided that running was an evil thing designed to break even the strongest of people, and I didn’t attempt it again for almost a year.

  1. Run for the silence.
Glorious.

Glorious.

Runners often run to get away from problems.  I was not  exception when running finally stuck for me in 2002.  I was in a bad relationship.  I was an overweight personal trainer feeling inept and sorry for myself.  It was almost my 21st birthday.  I needed a kick in the ass.

So I decided to train for a triathlon.

The running was hell, I’m not going to lie.  Swimming and biking were fine, but there was something about running that set off my inner demons like nothing else.  I felt crazy running most of the time, not to mention sweaty, winded, wheezy and inelegant.  My head would fight me the whole time, at first, but soon I noticed moments of silence in my head.  Really, really nice silence.  This kind of silence was different than the awkward moments on the phone with a new boyfriend.  This silence was peaceful, I realized, and I began to crave it more than I hated feeling winded.  So I continued to run.

  1. Run for the voices in your head.

Running makes you realize you’re a little nutty.  Maybe nutty for running in the first place, who knows.

run for the voicesThe voices in my own head reared up immediately and sneered at me, What on earth do you think you’re doing?  This isn’t possible, you know.  You’ll try and fail.  Don’t even bother. Just quit.  And on and on.  I started to run for those voices, though, because you know what?  They’re easily beaten.  And once you beat them off, you win.  They come back, and you beat them again. And you win again.  And eventually you realize that you’re better than your voices.  You realize you’re better than your demons.

And you realize you’re still running.

  1. Run for the killer legs

One thing I notice amongst all of my running clients is that they have really strong legs.  It doesn’t matter if the client is young or old, slim or stocky, male or female.  They all have killer, tough legs that don’t quit.  I can spot a runner a mile away now, just by the legs.  It’s great.

run for the stories 1

We all want nice legs, don’t we?  Well, running does that.  And I won’t even mention all the cool running tights that look amazing on toned, lean legs.  Ok I will mention it: running tights come in all sorts of cool patterns now, from swirly galaxy ones to fish-scale ones to ones with all the leg muscles drawn on.  Tights should actually be a reason unto themselves to run.

  1. Run for the hardware

Free shirt, chunky medal, crowds of people cheering you on.  What could be better?  Most of the time I’m not excited about receiving a participation award; in fact, I believe it’s a huge blunder on the part of school systems and recreational sports teams that they grant losing teams awards for just showing up.run for the hardware

Somehow, though, running is the exception to this rule.  Running is a solitary sport.  Everybody can win because everyone is playing against themselves; the only exception is the elite runners, who are actually running against the pack because that’s their job.  For the rest of us: you cross that finish line and you’ve done it.  You deserve that hunk of aluminum, and so does everyone else who fought their demons and pushed on for the last number of minutes and hours.

I remember my first ever medal, for that infamous triathlon I set out to complete in 2002.  I thought the whole time that I was going to drown, fall off my bike, and trip, respectively, but I did none of those things.  Instead, I won against my inner demons and my body’s complaining and I beat back the loser in me.  I was so proud of myself that I cried, and that medal hangs on my wall today to remind me where I’ve come from.

  1. Run for the stories

Whether you’re a solitary or group runner, you amass quite a few stories along the way (and I get to be privy to many of them while massaging people).  I’ve heard stories of tears, of triumph, of hysteria and hardship, and they are all essential pieces of the epic story that makes up Your Running Life.

Yes.

Yes.

Life seems richer when you run regularly; you encounter people (and often their dogs), places (with and without mud puddles), and experiences (closed roads, icy paths, crazy weather and bathroom troubles, to name a few) that you never would encounter otherwise.

The running community is full and diverse, and can provide a contentment and enrichment to life that is unmeasurable.  My mother, who is now a 7-time marathoner, has forged deep friendships with a group of running friends that she calls her Sole Sisters.  Their stories can entertain me for hours; they’ve been lost, got stuck in snowdrifts, tripped by dogs on leashes, and nearly peed their pants laughing multiple times along the running trails.  Friendships and stories like theirs are part of the reason running reaches so many.

Whether you run for the reasons above or for other reasons, running is a pretty great sport.  It’s easy to learn, it can be inexpensive to begin (all you really need are shoes), and it’s benefits, in my opinion, far outweigh its evils.  You can run all the time, or only occasionally, but the road is always there waiting for you, and it never really changes, even when you do.  It’s predictable, grounding, and even though it can be extremely challenging, it can also transform you into the best version of yourself.

 

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

May 11, 2015

I’m on a mission to “create space” in my head.  That was part of my homework when I had my nutritional consult with Karen, and I’ve been searching for it ever since.

Meditation is the obvious choice for opening the mind, but meditation, it should be said, is like stabbing myself in the eye with a fork is not really my thing.  I can’t picture myself sitting cross-legged doing nothing but contemplating for any length of time.  Actually, thinking about it now makes me laugh – my three year-old, Molly, would be like, “Cool! Mum’s a jungle gym!” in about five seconds.  Plus my mind wanders incessantly, and my inner monologue would no doubt have a field day: Why are you doing this? This is boring.  This is stupid. You have an itchy leg. What’s that noise outside? I wonder if that laundry’s done.  What is Molly up to? Is she colouring on the wall again… and so on.

So no meditation.  But space is still the objective.  Running helps, but I need something more.

A few weeks ago, our family joined a local dojo.  Husband Jamie has studied martial arts since he was six years old, and his old Sensei practices nearby.  He thought it would be a good experience for all of us to join together.  So off we went.

karatemolly

I was nervous at first.  Even with all of my fitness experience, I have never delved into the world of martial arts.  It was an entirely unexplored arena for me; a thought that both terrified and excited me.

My first few classes, I followed along tentatively as we punched, kicked, and learned the white-belt katas.  My choreography skills and spatial perception are crap, let’s just get that out of the way. It’s a wonder I can tie my shoes in the morning. Thank goodness I don’t operate heavy machinery for a living.

Sweat, eyebrows scrunched up in concentration, more sweat, repeat this move, repeat that move. And again. And again.

Soon, I realize, I’m starting to get it.  I’m moving in the right direction! I can high block and low block and even kick a bit without falling over.  It isn’t pretty yet… but I’m realizing that it won’t be unless I repeat those movements thousands of times over.

I watch Sensei Jamie in his black-belted magnificence, doing the same movements as I am, yet with an assured confidence, and an air of absolute mastery around him.  He has practiced these moves for thirty years. I’ve been practicing them for thirty minutes.

Still, I see what is possible, watching him.  The katas are beautiful, thirteen ways to artfully kick your opponent to the curb.  When I practice, I see each movement as it comes, and I struggle to remember how to execute the next one.  When Sensei Jamie practices, I see no struggle behind his eyes: just a space in his mind that is both peaceful and full of warriorship.

I want to get to that place.

And so I go to class. I practice at home. I’m dreaming about karate, and my body is learning and adapting to new movements and mindsets.  I never would have dreamed I would love it so much in such a short time, but I do.

As the journey continues, I for once am not focussed on the end result. I don’t really care to get a higher belt, or more recognition, or really ever lay a hand on an enemy for real.  I’m focussed on getting to that place of serenity that repetition brings; that bubble of nothingness that I’m on the edge of grasping.  I’m almost there.

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen