Looking for the Carp

Seize the carp! Or the day! Or the moment! Anything that will help make this life of yours richer, filled with love, and acceptance of yourself. This is my little journey to always be on the look out for that carp, grabbing it, and never letting go. This is the only life we have and it's too short for what ifs and maybe laters!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

8th Blog- Phases of Life

As as high school teacher, I see it every year around this time with graduates who are anxiously waiting to receive their high school diplomas, put on their prom dresses/ tuxes, and participate in all those final rituals that end one phase of life. I look across the stage and I see students who may, or may not, be ready to taste the real world. However, it doesn't matter whether I think they are prepared, after a walk towards the podium, a shake of the hand, and a farewell speech by the valedictorian they are on their way. Usually I do shed a tear to see them go, I hope that their lives are filled with more happiness than sadness, more success than failures. But funny enough, it does make on reflect on their own life, the phases I've gone through and where I am now. 

So the phases that I have gone through: 
  The university drunk/ party go-er phase 
  The single after a long term relationship phase 
  The proving I'm completely different from my mother phase 
  The rebel phase 
  Roommate/ living on my own phase 
  The string of dating people bad for me phase 
  The "Wake up and start doing well" phase
  Graduating from University phase (1st degree) 
  Learning who my true friends are phase 
  Self-Discovery Phase 
  Graduating from University phase (2nd degree) 
  Becoming an adult phase (complete with life insurance and RRSP's) 
  Starting my profession phase 
  Knowing what I deserve from a partner and finding it phase 
  Knowing what I want out of life phase 
  Marriage / Homeowner phase 

All in all, I have gone through many phases/ stages of life. For the most part I have really enjoyed the last 10 years since high school, appreciate the journey I have traveled, and embrace the person I am today. Creating this list of phases really helps to show how much I have matured, how far I have come from those days when I thought I knew everything and could do no wrong. The best part of this life is there are always new phases on the horizon. A new goal, a new experience, a different test to help shape me and prepare me for the next stage of life. The future is the most exciting part of our existence. It is the unknown, filled with possibilities for us to do better, love more, achieve more, and be happy. And to be on the cusp of late twenties/ early thirties, I'm enjoying this vast 'question mark' time period. I have already done the hard leg work through my previous phases.... self-discovery, love, profession. Now I get to enjoy the fruits of all that labour and continue my phases of adult-hood, newlyweds, and new homeowners. The next stages of life could be mother, world traveler, educational research, master's degree.... anything!

So in short, the carp I am seizing today is phases of life. The ones I have accomplished, the ones I'm on the road of working towards accomplishing, and the ones yet to come. Thank you graduates for reminding me how important it is to appreciate the end of each phase and to taste the excitement of the next one.

What's your carp? 

7th Carp- Bouncing Back

Hello All! 

First I have to apologize for my absence in the Weight Watcher world. I have been totally ignoring my weight loss journey and in the process have gained back 5 pounds in the last couple of weeks. Or at least I hope it's only 5 pounds, I haven't checked in a couple of days so it could be more. 

Anyways, the reason I have been absent is because I have been on an emotional roller coaster with my personal life. About a month ago, my husband and I received terrific news, we were pregnant! Hooray! I have been off birth control for almost two years but we weren't trying to conceive until recently. We couldn't believe our good fortune and were ecstatic with starting our pregnancy journey. Unfortunately, we only had two weeks of bliss until I started spotting, which turned into bleeding, which turned into a trip to the hospital and confirmation of a miscarriage. As stated in previous blogs, I am a teacher, as is my husband, so unfortunately I had to go to the hospital alone on a Wednesday morning.(He couldn't get the time off from school) After a painful examination, and even a more painful diagnosis, I sat in my car crying for over an hour before I was composed enough to start the 30 minute drive home. It was an early miscarriage so the doctor gave me hope that we could start trying right away, or whenever we were emotionally ready. 

I stayed home for the remainder of the day, letting my body go through the process, sleeping, and watching some comforting movies. (Thank you Disney :) ) Unfortunately I couldn't take more than 1 day to mourn my loss since classes were awaiting, exchange students were coming in a matter of days for a week of activities, and I had to plan for a supply for the week I was away. I feel like the stress of my professional life really impacted the direction my pregnancy took. Because of this, I was detached for the week's exchange, and resentful towards the program. I was so happy to see them get back on that bus and return to Quebec while I could go home and go back to my normal life. 

Now, I am in a better place. I have been getting more work done at school, winding down the year and making sure all my goals have been met. I have had a teaching evaluation which I am pretty sure I did well on. And although I still don't know if I have a job for next year, emotionally I am in a much better place. I am looking forward to the summer months so that I can shed these layers of responsibility and get back to putting me first. This is something I have forgotten over this semester which needs to be rectified. 

My game plan from now onwards is getting back to tracking my food, checking up on my WW community, and making sure that I don't fall into emotional eating traps. I am also going to schedule an hour each night, no matter how busy I am before exams to ask myself what it is that I want to do. Maybe it's reading, maybe it's blogging, maybe it's painting or journaling or maybe it's just sitting and staring out the window. But for that hour, my time is going to be my time. 

Hopefully with this switch of turning all of my energy inwards, instead of directing it outwards, I'll become more balanced emotionally and physically. Then, perhaps, we might get blessed with another miracle that will be healthy and feel safe, wanted, and well looked after. I know now it's hard to be a vessel for another living thing when you are not putting your own needs, wants, desires, and health first. 

What's your carpe?

6th Carp- Forgiveness

April 7, 2011
I can't believe it's been so long since my last blog. However, this is the only spare moment that I have had in weeks. So I thought that the best thing I could do with my time is reflect on a Carp that I am working towards. This carp is forgiveness. 

Sometimes forgiveness seems like it's an easy thing to give. A simple "no problem" when someone is late for a meeting or interrupts a conversation. Other times, forgiveness seems almost impossible to utter. Something that a person will pretend to contemplate for weeks, months, and in the worse cases years and decades. 

Why do people sometimes avoid giving forgiveness? Do they, perhaps, feel like they have to keep a hold of the anger/ hurt because if they let it go they are conceding defeat? Then if they let go of the negative emotion, do these people feel like they 'lost' the battle and the person that hurt or upset them was in the right? 

Like most people, I have two families; paternal and maternal. At an early age my parents divorced and I was able to see the differences between these two families and how they dealt with one another. One, my mother's side, was tight nit, accepting, upfront with one another, and moved on when arguments or differences arose. The other side, my father's, would see family members estranged because of things they have said. The family ran as a dictatorship. Grudges would dig themselves into the very core of some family members and caused unrepairable damage. I couldn't understand how different these two family units functioned. From what I could see the only apparent difference was how they chose to give, or not give, forgiveness. 

Since I was a young girl, I have had an extremely strained relationship with my father. There are facts that I can not deny. He was/is a drunk. He would/does disappear for months and years on end. He would cut himself off from part, or all, of his family. I can't remember the last time he called me on my birthday. I don't know where he is living. I don't have a number to contact him. Lastly, he knows my phone number and doesn't use it, nor does he want to contact me.

However, no matter what he has done to me and how he has chosen to be a father there is no point in letting my sadness take over into anger and contempt. I've seen what that type of behaviour can do to a person and this is not a road I wish to explore. This doesn't mean that I am a Saint and can avoid the temptation of anger on my own. With the help of my homeopath, I am learning to once and forever stop the cycle of dysfunction when it comes to that side of my family. I'm going to make sure that his actions and inactions no longer affect me. I'm working to ensure that I feel complete forgiveness towards him. Only by embracing this forgiveness will I be truly free from him/ their hold. 

Once I reach this stage, I'm looking forward to the energy that I can put into other parts of my life and the positivity I can surround myself with. So... if forgiveness ultimately unbinds us of our anger/ hurt/ hatred so that we can move on, why is it so hard for some people to give? 

What's your Carp?

5th Carp- Quiet Time

March 6, 2011
Post ImageAhh quiet time. 

Those days where you don't have anything on your to-do list. Where you only have to be concerned with eating, bathing (optional) and sleeping. Those wonderful days where you can curl up with a good book or a stack of DVD's and just let time tic away. Without the guilt of feeling like you should be doing this, or visiting that person, or taking the time to tackle unpleasant cleaning jobs like the fridge or stove. 


This is the carp I am seizing today. Or, I should say, all of March Break. I have looked at my calendar for the last year and realized that it has been JAMMED packed with lists, things to do, and items to get accomplished. Even being a teacher, you would think I would have slowed down during the summer to have some 'me time' however, it just didn't happen last year. 2 week french course, getting ready for our wedding, honeymoon, and then right back to school absorbed those precious months off. Couple that with a kitchen renovation over Christmas holidays, school, and taking ungrateful kids on a Quebec exchange, I'm just worn down. Mentally, physically.... and everything in between. Worn down. 

In this day and age, I think sometimes we feel forced to jam our days full and stretch ourselves thin so that we keep putting off doing things for ourselves or just feel guilty spending a day doing nothing. I feel this even more so since my other half is a high energy, lets get everything done, type of person who doesn't like to relax. But I say no longer.... or at least not for the next 7 days. 

Ladies, gentlemen, I say to you do not feel guilty! Instead, search out and create your own blocks of you-time! It helps to keep you feeling sane, keeps a healthy spirit, and gives you an opportunity to reconnect to the real you. How often do we get so absorbed with the different hats we have to wear: mother/father, teacher/job, friend, daughter/son, neighbour, sister/ brother etc that we leave the 'Me' hat on the mantle day after day gathering dust? In my experience if I ignore that "Me" hat too long my personality changes and I become irritable, angry and frustrated. A shadow of my usual self. 

With this is mind I have carved out a week that doesn't involve traveling to far off places, instead it's about reconnecting and rebuilding the relationship which is the most important. Me with myself. Movie day today, homeopath w/ friend outing Tuesday, massage therapy Wednesday, and lots of other activities scattered here and there that are me-focused. I feel truly blessed for this opportunity and I'm going to be grateful for every second. 

So whether it's a day or a week, a book, a movie, painting, writing, or another hobby, seize the Quiet Carp. It might not be a very enlightening 'carp', or even a new revelation, but it's the most important often-ignored thing that you can do for yourself. 

Tic..... tic..... tic...... 

What's your carp?

4th Carp- La Vie Quebecoise

February 14, 2011
Post ImageI was fortunate enough to take some students with me to Quebec on an exchange this past week. It was difficult as I was away from my e-tools and the community that has been keeping me strong throughout my journey. Although, I must say that I had great supplementary lessons in eating, food habits, and relationships with food from the company I was keeping to make up for the community I was missing. 

I was luckily able to spend my week bulleted with a teacher from our twin school. She prepared wonderful meals for us the whole time we were there. During one meal we started discussing how English cultures seem to have a much different relationship with food compared to other parts of the world, in this case Quebec. I know that I'm making a very general comment here, which might not be true everywhere, but from my experience Anglophones seems to use food as a necessity instead of an enjoyment. Sit down to eat, 10-15 minutes later you're done. Get up, walk away and accomplish something else from the list that needs to be done. Maybe that's why we never seem really satisfied. We don't take the time to appreciate our food long enough to gain satisfaction from it. 

But ohhh no.... not la vie Quebecoise. We had multiple courses where we talked, debated, enjoyed the food, and each others company. Meals would last at least an hour and the longest one of the week lasting 3 hours. This is where I learned the secret to this non-Anglophone life. During our love/ hate food discussion, one of our party said, 

"Michelle, il y a un différence entre se nourrir et manger". 


Eye opener. Not only do they have a different point of view but they also have different words to describe the same thing. In English, we sit down and we eat. End of discussion. Here I can either "se nourrir" or "manger"? No wonder our cultures have different views about the subject!

He then told me that when you "se nourrir", you're eating for the basic necessity of food. Nutrition and calories needed to keep your body functioning. When you "manger" you are eating for the experience of the food while getting the bodily requirements. Thus they are able to eat their cheeses, drink their wines, and have all the wonderfully delicious, yet highly fattening foods, without guilt because they have savored every taste. Which in tern means that they aren't constantly searching for food satisfaction, over indulging or emotional eating. 

So for my 4th carp, I'm going to learn how to incorporate La Vie Quebecoise into my every day life, savor my food, and gain satisfaction from it. I'm no longer going to be an Anglophone that inhales their food without tasting any flavors and forgetting 10 minutes later that I had even eaten. Making me long to search for something else to satisfy the hunger. 

With that I only have one word left to say: 


What's your carp?

3rd Carp- Snowshoeing

January 30, 2011
Post ImageYes I live in Canada. 

Yes I tolerate winter for almost half of a year. 

But no that doesn't mean that I like winter sports or recreation. Skiing? I look like a big snow ball rolling down a hill. Skating? I wobble here and there not really going anywhere. Sledding? Meh... the downhills are fun but walking back up? Not so much. Anyways, I just about gave up my search for enjoyable winter recreation. 

Until... that is ... today! 

We just purchased a property with about an acre of land right next to the forest. My husband, Jon, went out exploring the other day with his friend on their snowshoes. Since then, he has been dying to show me everything along the trails he saw. I don't have snowshoes because of aforementioned dislike of winter sports, I never had the urge to try it. So I kept putting it off, putting it off, until I had run out of excuses. He was going to borrow some snowshoes from the same friend and we were going to go for an adventure. "Oh great, I'll just end up breaking a leg, fall, and have my face hit by trees- sounds awesome".

I sucked it up though because of my second carp. (see second blog entry) I'm seizing life now and that means new adventures and experiences. I've got to try everything and anything I can because I know how precious every moment is. So strapped on the snowshoes I did, and the two of us plus Molly our dog, went out into the wilderness. 

Going out for just Molly's reaction alone would have been worth it. She was bounding and jumping through snow with so much vivacity I could not help but smile. And she was smiling back at me saying "C'mon mom! There were deer here! I need to keep on smelling!" Jon was pointing out this and that which I was half hearing/ half concentrating on not falling down. 

Then about 20 minutes later I realized.... this is fun! I don't have to worry about crazy speeds sliding down mountains. I don't have to be concerned of my lack of balance and falling onto hard ice. This is just walking with big clown shoes! I can get on board with this for sure. And what a work out! Going through the brush, around the trees, up and down hills, had my heart just a pumping! I was racking up activity points and loving it. 

Now I'm on the search online for my own pair of snowshoes. After all, I have to embrace my first ever joyful winter activity experience. Jon and Molly are both very excited about this new revelation. 

I guess that makes me a true blooded, winter loving, Canadian now! 

What's your carp? 

2nd Carpe- LIFE

January 26, 2011
Post ImageI didn't think I would be blogging so soon after my first post but with the morning I had, I definitely need to let it all out. 

Seizing life sounds a little cliché doesn't it? Well when you have a personal experience about how fragile life is, seizing life seems like the only thing you want to do. 

This morning, I know with 100 % certainty that I could have died. I was driving to work and was passing a transport truck. I wasn't on a 4 lane highway but a passing lane on a two way highway. I was going along and just about passed the transport when a truck was coming in my direction, hugging my line enough that I knew I had to get out of his way or we could possibly hit. I moved over, hit a patch of snow/slush/ ice and was sling shotted in front of the transport before spinning onto the other lane and facing the opposite direction on the other side of the highway.

The transport truck drove past my swerves like a thread going through a needle. I couldn't believe that he didn't smash me into smithereens. I also couldn't believe that the guy that started all of this didn't stop. When the car finally became still I was about a foot into the snow but other wise completely fine. The lights on my dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree but, nothing serious. I put it in low gear, waited until no one was coming and did a U turn to get back on the right side of the highway. Once there I put my 4 ways on and stayed parked until I stopped shaking. I immediately called my husband but he didn't pick up so I left a choppy/ emotional message about what happened and that I was fine. 

I continued going to school, shaken, scared out of my mind, but with every fiber of my being thankful that I was still alive. If anything had been in the other lane or if that transport truck would have reacted differently, this story would have had a very sad ending. Once the adrenaline ran through my system, the tears started falling. I was this close. I could have died. Life could have been taken from me because of something as stupid as someone hugging a line. 

Thank you transport truck for being able to avoid my erratic swerves, thank you car for taking over even when I was doing everything wrong, thank you god for having the other lane cleared of any traffic and thank you guardian angel for keeping me safe. 

Message received------- Seizing LIFE and being thankful for it is the carp of the day and one that I will keep in mind always. 

What is your carp?

1st Carpe- Hello Me!

January 25, 2011
Post ImageThis is my first blog post... ever. Which is strange since I'm an avid journaler and love writing about my experiences. After reading other blogs, I find that they help me stay on track 24/ 7 which is exactly what a up and down lifestyle changer like myself needs. 

I say lifestyle changer and not diet because I want this to be a lifestyle. Long term and not short term payoffs. This is the reason that I'm starting WW at a time where I would have told myself previously it would be impossible to stay on track... winter! Salads in winter? DISGUSTING! Activity out in that cold? YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING! Following a plan when a teacher hardly gets time to use the bathroom most days? THAT'S A LAUGH! 

These exclamations are not stretching the imagination. All of them I have said to myself when I was going through WW two summers ago. I lost almost 20 pounds during the summer and felt fantastic. Then the fall schedule started up, with new students, an increase in responsibilities and slowly but surely that scale started to creep back up. I didn't do anything to stop it. I had excuses! I had reasoning! I had a load of **** really and was just too lazy or preoccupied to think about myself. 

So...... the first carp I am seizing is moi! 

I'm seizing myself by embracing this program completely during, in my mind, the absolutely craziest season to start a lifestyle change. My logic for it is simple. Beat the excuses head on and then I have absolutely nothing to fall back on. Even reasoning won't save me. If I can take the dog for walks in -35 degree weather then a beautiful spring day will be a breeze. Staying within my Daily Points when the nights seem longer and all you want to do is snack will only make the long nights of summer activity delightful. 

And you know what the craziest thing is ? I'm doing it! 3rd week in, two weeks of great losses and loving this new program are all needed fuel to keep me going and my motivation high. Couple that with changing from meetings to online this time, I feel unstoppable! This is how WW should be for me. Constant access to resources and a community that cheers you on with every pound.