relaxation

The Fabulously Unfit Girl's Guide to Health & Wellness: traffic

I've recently started learning about meditation. It's something I've always wondered about but really had zero idea of what it was all about other than the obvious stereotypes we all have of monks chanting, people in hypnotic trances, Buddha worshipers, and whatnot. When I mapped out the posts I wanted to do in this blog series, a guided meditation was on the list from the very beginning. Even better, during a nail appointment, my bud Kristen explained to me that she was training to teach meditation. Well, perfect. 

I set up an appointment with her to lead me in a guided meditation and give me the low down on this stuff. I had a million questions - What do I need? What do I bring? Did I need incense or a robe? Was there going to be hand holding or chanting? I didn't ask all these questions but I sincerely hoped that there wouldn't be hand holding... a robe might have been cool though. 

Turns out there was neither. We sat comfortably on my big sofa in my chill living room area off my home studio where the lighting is dim, it's quiet, and there was no husband or dogs to run around terrorizing the village. 

She explained the science behind the practice and to put it simply: meditation is simply taking time to breathe, calm your mind and body, and to try take some time for yourself in the space between your thoughts. The ultimate result being a greater sense of self awareness, an increase in patience, an increased ability to think situations through rather than being immediately reactive, increased brain function, relaxation, and stress relief. The benefits really were endless. Seems pretty cool for something that seems so simple, right? 

As someone who battles a mental illness that comes along with extreme amounts of anxiety, it seemed ridiculous that I hadn't dipped my toes in these waters before. Anything to help me chill the f*ck out, I was down with. 

Her session focused on a basic guided practice that helped me pay attention to my breath and body, with gentle direction and the use of a silent mantra (no chanting required)  - which I expected to be super weird, but was actually really helpful in bringing my focus back when my mind would wander off. It sounds easy, but it really isn't. Calming our minds in today's crazy world takes practice... but if things were always easy, what would we ever learn?

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She helped me download an app (yes, there's an app for that) called Headspace which gives you a free "Take 10" mediation challenge consists of 10 minutes a day for 10 days of guided meditation with a man named Andy. Andy seems like a nice guy... maybe a geeky friend you might have a latte with once in awhile. He explains about meditation and includes cute animations in between sessions. 

My favourite animation of Andy's explains that our thoughts are like traffic. Coming and going at a rapid pace all day. We are constantly swept away with the traffic in our hectic lives. The goal of mediation is to find a way to teach ourselves to sit on the side of the road once in awhile and just let the traffic go by. Finding the space in your mind where you aren't swept away by the speeding traffic; the space outside or in between the thoughts. 

I found the challenge interesting. To sit there and quiet my mind was sometimes so simple and soothing, and other times it was like being trapped in a nightmare trying to get through it... like I was drowning in anxiety within it, but knew I would come out on the other side stronger for having stuck it out. It's obviously not always as easy as it sounds to get out of your own head. It's downright hard. Those times were the ones I found would make me anticipate the next time I did a session because I wanted to get "better" and "stronger" when it came to meditating. The truth is, there is no better or stronger - it's not a competition or a race, it's a personal practice that is just taking time to pay attention to yourself. Andy wasn't going to pass or fail me. He might buy me a latte though, or at least I'd like to think so. 

There are amazing apps out there with guided meditations for almost anything you might want to focus on - anxiety, sleep, sports, fear of flying - even sessions specifically for children. It's a cool thing because it's something you can do anytime, anywhere. 

Before diving in, I highly recommend a session with a real, live person who can explain and help you to understand the science behind meditation. Local gals, Kristen Antunes and Danica Slattery have started a new venture that allows you to book guided sessions with them in your home, office, or even schools. They can get you started with a single session or meet with you on an on-going basis. Kristen was a wealth of knowledge... plus we talked about our mutual love of doggo memes afterwards, so that was extra awesome. And there was no hand holding or chanting.

Danica Slattery (left) & Kristen Antunes (right). Photo by DeMo Photography.  Kristen and Danica are both Certified Lifestyle Meditation Teachers with a passion for mindfulness and meditation. Ever since incorporating meditation into their daily lives the benefits have transformed their ability to cope with stress, make more aligned choices, and create a stronger connection with themselves and others.   Contact Kristen at kristenantunesmeditation@gmail.com and Danica at danicaslattery@gmail.com for more information. You can also sign up for a mediation class right at Modern Woman Show & Expo on Sunday April 23rd.  Click here for workshop info!

Danica Slattery (left) & Kristen Antunes (right). Photo by DeMo Photography.

Kristen and Danica are both Certified Lifestyle Meditation Teachers with a passion for mindfulness and meditation. Ever since incorporating meditation into their daily lives the benefits have transformed their ability to cope with stress, make more aligned choices, and create a stronger connection with themselves and others. 

Contact Kristen at kristenantunesmeditation@gmail.com and Danica at danicaslattery@gmail.com for more information. You can also sign up for a mediation class right at Modern Woman Show & Expo on Sunday April 23rd. Click here for workshop info!

So, until my next post, I hope you all find some time to quiet your minds, sit on the side of the road, and watch the traffic go by. 

Katie xoxo

Entrepreneurship: How I went on a 'working' vacation!

 

I have a weird job. I'm the first to admit it. When someone asks me "What do you do?" I honestly wish I had an easy, clear answer. I just don't fall into your run of the mill professions that can be easily defined with a one word answer.

I am an entrepreneur.

My educational background is in Commerce. I am a makeup artist; an esthetician; a event coordinator; a blogger; and most recently, a student of photography. This latest undertaking makes me money, so I suppose that makes me semi-professional and gets rolled into my Liam Neesen style "particular set of skills" (Hellooo... awesome Taken reference alert.)

I figuratively wear many hats. (Literally too, usually hobo-style toques because I don't feel like doing my hair. #truth) Nothing is ever the same one week to the next. I created this job. Its unique to only me. And the best part? Anyone can do the same thing with their own "particular set of skills" ... trust me people, life is better when you are doing what you love to do.

Recently, my weird job offered the most awesome opportunity to come along as both a makeup artist and photographer for a wedding at the beautiful Barceló Maya Beach Resort in Mexico, I was pumped... my personal Holy Grail of gigs - "The Destination Wedding"!

But hold the phone, I was also super hesitant. This would be the first wedding I had ever photographed, and I didn't want to screw that up for this couple by getting in over my head. I asked my photography teacher (the very talented and wise Shannon Brunner www.shannonbrunner.com) what to do and she simply said "Take the job, we'll make sure you're ready." (Sometimes you just need someone else to tell you can do something. Validation - its ok, we all need it.) 

I first had to first condense and pack a travel sized professional makeup kit about 1/100th the size of my regular one. The heat can pose a buttload of challenges with skin irritations and makeup durability so I was well stocked with skin care solutions,  long-wearing, multi-purpose productssetting sprays, and lots of disposables that wouldn't be readily available at a resort. The challenge was to pack as few products as possible, with the most multi-tasking impact, and in the most travel friendly way. This bride is a natural beauty, wears little-to-no makeup in everyday life, but needed some extra vibrancy and definition to make sure her features didn't get lost under the bright, bright sun on the beach. Easy-peasy, since Richelle is a mega-babe.

 

 

Luckily, packing my camera equipment was super easy. I made sure everything was registered with my insurance company and I had a perfect carry-on sized travel bag. I took 4 lenses, 2 camera bodies, my external flash, a modifier, 3 camera batteries, 2 chargers, about 1000 SD cards, approximately 4 million AA batteries... and a partridge in a pear tree.

The wedding itself was beautiful. Short and sweet, with just their closest family and friends on the beach. The ceremony was followed by a couple hours of free time that we used for the formal portraits of the couple... and a couple cervesas, obviously. The evening included an amazing dinner and cake cutting at an a la carte steakhouse, and an absolutely fantastic private party on the beach which I can say DID include a spectular group performance of that Whip-Nay-Nay thing that I don't know much about. (#oldballs). They even got me out on the sandy dancefloor for a couple of songs.

 

 After the wedding, Chris and I still had a couple days to just enjoy Mexico(Did I mention I weaselled my husband in on the action?) We spent a day at Xel-ha, an Eco-park that is essentially one big inlet off the Caribbean Sea that has a bunch of cool activities like cliff jumpingsnorkelling and ziplining. We spent most of the day working on some hideous life-jacket shaped sunburns whilst floating down the giant lazy river.

 

We managed to make a day trip to Playa Del Carmen, take in a few a la carte restaurants, spent some time at the pool, and hit up the resort's bowling alley - which provided some seriously stylish hospital shoe covers for people without socks. Both clever and ridiculous... because who the hell brings socks to Mexico???

 

(Side note: Although this resort was pretty fab, the first two nights were home to the "Phish Festival" which not only could I not believe was a thing, but exposed me to legions of loud-ass, washed up 90s hispters that will haunt my nightmares. But THAT is a story for another time... #blur4eva) All in all, this trip was the best of both worlds and I felt happy and comfortable every step of the way. The point is, I may have an unconventional job, but its an awesome one. Entrepreneurship doesn't have to fit under a certain job description. My advice to anyone who feels stuck in their career, or lack thereof, is this: Find something you love to do, and then charge money for itYou will be happy and as a result, so will the people who hire you. #winwin

There are many roads to successbut having passion for what you do is the key.

Congratulations to newlyweds Richelle and Brian and thank you for the opportunity to be part of your awesome adventure and for taking a chance on a Noob! XOXO!

Katie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Info@katiemartin.ca

www.katiemartin.ca