Saturday, May 21, 2016

Taking a Mental Health Year... or Two

In light of Mental Health Awareness Week, I thought I'd break my silence with a confession.

I have been hiding a secret from everyone for years.  I suffer from anxiety and depression and have been dealing with it in silence for most of my life.  I was officially diagnosed with it in my early 20's but I suffered from the age of 11.  Having cancer, losing my hair, my school friends, my mother to alcohol, siblings hating on me and dealing with death every week when someone else I met died. I was too busy surviving to let depression get me. It's one of the side effects of chemotherapy as well.  I certainly was a strong kid.

The depression hit me at it's worst from the age of 21-25. I went through a period of agoraphobia where the thought of being around crowds of people gave me such intense feelings of anxiety, I barely left my apartment for 3 months.  The depression was heavy and dark and I battled suicidal thoughts daily.  It was a very difficult time but when I reached out to my family for help, was told to "snap out of it".  "Life is hard, just deal with it."

So I did and I learnt that I couldn't depend on my family for emotional support.  I saw therapists for years and took medications to help boost my mood. The side effects of the medications were horrible.  I was taking one to counter the effects of another.  I lost my zest for life in every way.  I lost my desire for sex.  I was too young to be messing with my hormones.  No one tells us what the long term effects of taking these drugs are. My body had already been through so much, drugs were not my friend. I sabotaged my relationships, rejecting love so that love didn't reject me.  The hardest years were between 1997-2006.  It's probably no coincidence that I started practising yoga regularly in 2007.

Somehow, I got through it.  It took some extreme life changes - moving across the globe to start a new life in New Zealand was the first step.  Some people thought I was running from my problems but intuitively I knew it was the only way to re-create myself.  I was not free to be my authentic self in my "old" life.  I felt I was living a lie, trying to please everyone else but I didn't have a clue who I was.  The only way for me to get in touch with my purpose and authenticity was to cut ties from my past and re-invent myself.

I was smiling but very unhappy.  I needed a bath.
I caught a glimpse of the person I wanted to become on a three-month solo backpacking tour around Europe and the UK in 1998.  There is something about travel that allows you to escape and you develop the character you want in the book of your life.  Elizabeth Gilbert captured it in her book Eat Pray Love.  My journey of self-discovery was similar... but I'm still working on my ending.

Everything I needed for 3 months
That first solo backpacking journey was the catalyst to my awakening.  It was not all yummy food (I could only afford to eat bread, beer, cheese and yoghurt.  I was so happy to eat broccoli when I got home!), God-consciousness (I was still very unconscious at the time) and unconditional love (I didn't even know what that meant, let alone felt like).  It was a heart-wrenching time in my life.  I experienced my first real heartbreak and I had no idea just how badly I broke or how many years it would take to mend.  I tried to heal with new love but it opened "Pandora's Box" and left me searching for more, leaving a trail of broken hearts and years of disconnected self-preservation.  I appeared reckless and heartless.  My mother thought I had an addiction to sex but it was so much deeper than that.  It was an awakening process I needed to have, developing an empowerment I'd never known before.  I was angry, and that powerful energy was a step up from depression.  I wasn't conscious enough to understand it at the time.  I was simply going on a strong survival instinct.  I had no idea how my destruction was hurting the ones who wanted to save me.  No love was ever going to be strong enough to save me from myself.  It was all part of my evolution and development.  Hindsight is a beautiful thing.  How could I love someone else if I didn't even like myself?

The Bachelorette in Sydney
Five years later, in 2003, I embarked on another journey of self-discovery.  This one was different.  I was empowered, strong and in a good place in my life, even though I unconsciously knew there was still a lot more to learn about myself.  I had also received some concerning news about my health and longevity.  My organs were aging rapidly as a result of the chemo I had as a child.  I was told I was not going to have a long life ahead.  As my friends were buying houses (how I cringe now knowing I had my chance to buy a home for under $200,000), I headed off on another three month backpacking trip to Australia and New Zealand.  I found my connection to my God-source in New Zealand and my true awakening of consciousness began.  I made the decision to give up everything I knew in Canada to build a new life and reinvent myself in New Zealand.  I wasn't running from anything, rather towards a new opportunity to become the person I wanted to become.  There were too many memories and negative influences in Canada.  To truly change and evolve, I knew I needed a fresh start.

Finding my happy place in New Zealand
I found a different kind of "love" in New Zealand.  My vulnerability and naivety softened me and I found myself drawn to men who took advantage of my generous nature.  The next decade of my life would be a period of "karmic" repayment for all of the hearts I broke.  My empowerment was toned down and I developed compassion towards my parents who were broken human beings who did their best.  The process of self love began through desperately trying to convince men that I was lovable.  Those were some hard years.

Freedom in solitude and wide open spaces
I was conflicted.  I loved my life in New Zealand but I wasn't finding the love I knew I deserved.  My consciousness opening like a lotus flower, I realised that the only love I needed was inside of myself.  So the process began.  In 2007, after another health scare where I developed another ovarian tumour and opted to have a radical hysterectomy at age 32, I reconnected with myself through yoga, meditation practice and intense self-love.  I married myself and made a commitment to love, honour and cherish myself for as long as I lived.

My depression and anxiety pretty much disappeared.  I wrote frequently and found positive affirmations through social media platforms like Facebook and Pinterest.  I found my joy in the simple things, walking to the gym, writing, cooking healthy meals, meeting friends for coffee.  I dated but was unwilling to settle for something that didn't feel right.  I was empowered again but it wasn't selfish, I was full of love and looking for someone whose heart would match mine.

I thought I met that man in 2011 and we married.  I was 37 at the time and I was ready for a life commitment with someone. In our haste and whirlwind romance, he failed to mention that he wanted me to give up my friends, my career, my freedom and independence so that I could be a housewife.  After our marriage, he got insanely jealous and insecure. I had a false sense of security in our vows and held my ground.  I thought he'd calm down eventually when he realised he had nothing to worry about.  Five months later he left, saying I was never going to change.  I believe we constantly change but I was certainly not going to be forced to change for anyone.

That's when I realised just how much I've evolved.  But I'm far from perfect.
Kilimanjaro, the highest free standing mountain in the world!  I am NOT a mountaineer.  I just loved the metaphor.
I was at my strongest in 2013 when I embarked on another journey of self-discovery, joining a group of cancer survivors to climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa.  That trip sparked a deep desire to help AIDS orphans, Maasai girls and the Porters of Kilimanjaro.  I returned to Tanzania again on my own in 2014, after driving across Canada collecting items to ship to Africa for charitable projects.  I spent three months in Tanzania doing the most rewarding and life changing work.  My heart burst open and I loved myself more than I thought possible.  This isn't the "ego" love that we associate with when people take lots of selfies to say, "Look at how great I am".  I'm talking about the love we search for our whole life.  A love that says, "I'm important to others and my life has purpose."

AIDS orphans
I experienced heart-break but it didn't destroy me.  I was deeply disappointed by people I trusted and believed in.  I became choosier with whom I associated.

I struggled to return back to the Western world, people with all their "first world problems".  That was when I felt the old familiar grip of depression.

For the last 18 months, I've suffered silently with minor depression as I recovered from adrenal fatigue.  I'd simply "burnt out" from giving away more than I could emotionally afford.  I reached out a few times on Facebook, always cheerfully looking at the silver lining.  I withdrew into myself deeper.  Being the sort of person who enjoys her own company, no one had any reason to worry.  My weight fluctuated, a real sign of my imbalance.  My blood pressure rose and I knew I needed to take care of myself again so I joined a 12 week cardio fitness program.

I'd just completed it, when nine weeks ago, while on a mini vacation in the Pacific Islands, I slipped on a wet patch of concrete and fell, smashing my left wrist into smithereens and damaging the nerves to my hand.  That was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back, so to speak. I'm a healer and I work with my hands.  I lost my Ambassador job just as the season was about to begin.  I only qualified for a very minimal amount from Accident Compensation because they only considered my income from 2014 when I was away for 6 months collecting items for Africa. I couldn't work and I had no idea how I was going to pay my rent.  How did I get to be in this situation?  Too focused on everyone else and not putting my security first.
Big time ouchy.  Dislocation fracture of the radius and ulna.

I was angry at the injustice, of such a nasty break and the lack of support I got from a system that didn't look after me when I felt most vulnerable.  I was angry at my sister who was visiting at the time.  She is a very strong character and I naturally become a shrinking violet so she can take centre stage.  After my accident, I was disappointed with her lack of compassion or empathy.   It hurt me deeply.  I felt like I was a 10 year old who ruined everything by getting cancer.  So, people were right, I can't run from my problems.  Old hurts remain, suppressed deep in the crevices of our heart.

I have been holding steady in my anger for two months but my grip started slipping, like holding a rope, afraid of how deep this depression will be.
Bionic woman
That's a lot of hardware.

Last night I let go of the rope. I am exhausted.  I could barely sleep, my heart was racing and I felt that old familiar, overwhelming sense of doom.

I'll be honest, I just want to give up. That's just not who I am but when anxiety and depression sets in, it's so hard to see a way out.

I know I'm not alone... so many people suffer from ‪#‎anxiety‬ and ‪#‎depression‬. In light of ‪#‎mentalhealthawareness‬ week, rather than suffer in silence I'm swallowing my pride to share this side of myself. Hiding it brings a feeling of shame and embarrassment.

Now you know why I've been so quiet. It's been a difficult time.  Admittedly, talking about it makes it feel not quite so overwhelming.  I know what I need to do, yoga and meditation will bring me back to the light.  Getting started is the hardest part.

I seek comfort knowing that from an astrological perspective, there are quite a few planets in retrograde this year (Mars, Pluto, Saturn, Mercury) and we have a Full Blue Moon tonight. If you feel the shift and changes happening (as I do), trust that it's an opportunity to look inward at the parts of yourself buried long ago. Accept that you are not longer that person, it's time to open your heart to evolve into the higher version of your soul. Trust this... you will come out of this stronger and more yourself than ever.   ‪#‎keepclimbing‬ ‪#‎dontgiveup‬ ‪#‎retrograde2016‬

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Educating Africa

Someone challenged my motivation for helping the people of Africa yesterday. I could see where he was coming from, there are a lot of scams and corruption. Kind people are taken advantage of all the time. I know because I've seen it, and it's happened to me... a lot.  Yet, I continue to give and learn who to trust.

I was also contacted yesterday by someone from Zimbabwe, living in New Zealand, who wants to join with me to send computers and educational supplies and then go over to help the people in Africa become independent entrepreneurs, giving them the knowledge required to help themselves. 

The question is this: The more we help Africa by sending them stuff for "free", are we creating a society of expectant entitlement? Are we helping them or are we adding to the problem? We discussed it and I've thought about it a lot, many hours in meditation and reflection on my personal experiences and this is the message I'm getting: 

It's crucial to act when you feel compelled to help but don't do anything blindly, be conscious.  Know the ones you are investing in so they will remember the kindness in your eyes and in your smile and the energy that you bring. You give them hope which is what they need. When something is done out of love, the reward will flourish and that's how lives are transformed. It's the concept of paying it forward... if good things are done for you, you will do good for others. By investing in a child's education, you are giving them an opportunity to grow, evolve and expand. When a child knows the person giving them this opportunity, it motivates them to work harder. Trust this.
The photos here are the Maasai girls that the Nuns of Kisikahaba have taken in to be given an education and a chance of a future, otherwise most of them would have been sold at the markets as young brides or housegirls (a modern term for slave).  Their future, to become one of many wives of a Maasai warrior and to produce as many boys as possible to herd the family cattle and goats.  The Maasai people are not cruel, they are simple and merely ignorant, as this is how they've survived for centuries.  But they are struggling and now resort to selling their daughters in desperation.  By educating the parents on the value of educating their children, we are helping them to preserve their culture through freedom and expression.  In our world today, education is the only way forward. 

The Western World, particularly North America, is addicted to "stuff" and they have more than they know what to do with.  Second hand charity shops are overflowing, unable to take in any more.  They send excess unwanted items blindly to Africa and third world countries around the world where the items end up in corrupt hands and are sold to the poor.  This is disgraceful.  It's no wonder people have lost faith in these charity shops as there is nothing charitable about contributing to corruption.  This is what happens when people "do good" unconsciously.

I chose to do something about it.  I invested my time and effort and did my research.  I built relationships with trustworthy people, found worthy charities to invest in and learned first hand how I could improve their lives.

I've never met children so hungry for a chance at life. When I think of entitlement I don't think of African children, I think of Westernized children. I believe this is our chance to help the next generation change corruption and greed. I know them and I have seen the hearts of these young ones. I believe this is why large charities fail, because so many have lost the grassroots connection. The only way I can continue this work is by continuing to love and care about the children whose lives I am determined to change and the families who need the most hope. 

Unfortunately I need money to do this work... and that's the biggest hurdle. I can't do it alone either. I have a team of angels helping but without funding, we can only go so far. I have faith it will all work out as it's meant to which is why I must remain detached from any outcome but very conscious of my role.

There are certainly projects closer to home, in the Pacific Islands that could use my help as well.  I don't think I chose Africa in particular, but rather, Africa chose me.

The small part I played was an incredible experience and I helped so many people. That's good enough for me... for now. If my mission in Africa is meant to continue, God will find a way.

 ‪#‎charity‬ ‪#‎Africa‬ ‪#‎education‬ ‪#‎heforshe‬ ‪#‎purpose‬ ‪#‎followyourdream‬ ‪#‎HelpUsHelpThem‬ ‪#‎giving‬ ‪#‎love‬ #consciousconnection 
Namaste & God Bless

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Here's to a New Year

Tracy & Kelly - Team OMAAT
Hope you all had a good 2015.  Bet you didn't think you'd ever hear from me again.  In all honesty, I wasn't sure either.  I'd been meeting with a book editor this year who has been encouraging me to publish a book, but it's been slow going.  My writing came to a screeching halt.  He'll be happy to see me writing today for the first time in over a year.

Just to recap... 2013 & 2014 were such massive years, so it's probably not surprising that I needed all of 2015 to recover from them.  I spent all of 2013 training to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free standing mountain in the world.  I did the climb (and got to the summit) in September 2013 and spent an additional 5 weeks in Africa.

In July 2014, I flew from NZ to Vancouver, bought a van and drove over 5,000km across Canada in 60 days collecting warm winter clothing and school supplies to (somehow) ship to Tanzania (I wasn't sure how I was going to do it but thought I'd figure it out when I got there) for the Porters of Mt. Kilimanjaro and for the orphans and Maasai children. You have no idea how many people told me I was crazy and had no idea how difficult and next to impossible that was going to be.  I never listen and I do what I want.

Kelly Friis taking inventory in her garage
I reconnected with my old high school friend Kelly Friis who convinced her husband to allow me to sort the items in their garage. Kelly was adopted so she had a personal interest in the work I was doing.  She shared the story with her friends and ended up doubling the amount!  This woman is a serious super-star.  She has a heart of gold.  I'm incredibly lucky that she is part of the One Mountain At A Time team now.  I couldn't do any of this without her.

Mama Zara, the owner of Zara Tours & Zara Charity, knew someone in the import/export business who ships things to Tanzania regularly, he offered to help us get the items to Africa.  It all came together.  Kelly and her hubby got everything ready to ship and I boarded a plane for Tanzania.

I spent the next 3 months working with Zara Charity on all of their various community projects plus others that I discovered and got involved in as well (and ultimately introduced to Zara Charity who now support them).

  • I spent a month in the Mount Kilimanjaro Porter's Society office getting to know the needs of the men and women of the mountain
  • I spent my evenings and a number of day trips visiting the children at Kilimanjaro Orphanage
  • I visited the elderly
  • I spent time with Bibi (the medicine woman) healing people in the village with my Magic Hands and learning about African herbal medicine
  • I initiated the Mattress Project at the orphanage - raising enough funds to buy brand new mattresses for every bed (45 total) plus two new bunk beds.
  • I found new, worthy charitable projects to get behind and connected them to existing projects for support and mentorship 
  • I visited a school for the disabled where the Albino children are also protected from harm
  • I gave English lessons to staff and helped to update and edit the Zara websites
  • I trained staff in massage and spa techniques
  • I spent time with the Maasai in different regions learning about their culture and ways to help with their education
  • I met with the nuns of Kisikahaba to discuss community outreach and visited hospitals and medical centres
  • I facilitated and helped distribute donations of sporting goods and school supplies to various schools and children's centres
  • I organized the Dreamer's & Doers books to be sold in all Zara Properties, with 100% of the profits going to Zara Charity 
  • I went to a Poaching Protest 
  • I participated in an AIDS Awareness run with AIDS orphans
  • I watched a 10 year old boy die from AIDS (which he contracted on the street from being raped by drug addicts as a toddler)
  • I took photographs, sharing everything on social media

That's a brief overview.  The time I spent in Tanzania was incredibly productive and extremely rewarding.  I made so many friends who became family.  I was a different person in Africa, it didn't matter that my skin was white because inside I was a black woman.  I felt like I'd connected to my primal soul and reconnected to my authentic self.

I was given freedom to choose the projects I was called to work on.  Mama Zara was my mentor, she trusted my instincts and supported everything I did.  I loved that woman.  She is an incredible role model and I was so grateful to have her unconditional support.
Zulfa and I in the MKPS office

I worked directly with Zulfa who became a sister to me.  Zulfa works in the Porter's office but she also does a lot of work for Zara Charity as well.  She was so dedicated to her work and always smiling.  I enjoyed working with her so much. I'm sure the feeling is mutual (judging by the look she's giving me in the photo).  Zulfa often told me how good I was at making things happen.  She told me that I accomplished more in my first three weeks than she was able to accomplish in three years!  That's the power of social media and being well connected to people around the world.  Zulfa was a single mother, working hard to provide for her daughter and her family.  She brought me to the market one afternoon where she bought a half a dozen shirts and trousers for her father for his birthday and posted them to him in Dar Es Salaam.

Zulfa wanted to do her Master's Degree at university but she was nervous about the fees.  I told her to sign up, to trust that the money would come.  I was teaching her the power of intention and manifestation.  She took my advice and enrolled in university.  Within a few months the father of her child came back into her life, realizing what a mistake he made.  He's supporting his family and paying her tuition. They are getting married tomorrow (December 28th).  I'm delighted for her.

The three months flew past.  I was conflicted because half of me wanted to stay and the other half was ready to return to New Zealand.  My life in New Zealand was packed up in boxes and stored away, I had no "home" to return to.  I was exhausted and run down.  I'd contracted a virus while I was in Africa and when I finally got back to NZ, I crashed. I'd been gone for 6 months and traveled around the globe.  I didn't know how I was going to pay my bills or rent because most of my clients had moved on.  Going away that long was committing business suicide.  Lucky for me, I have the most loyal clients on earth.  I am very very blessed.

The doctors didn't know what virus I'd contracted but it had definitely affected my heart.  There was evidence of damage on the ECG and they suspected I'd had a minor heart attack while I was away.

I had so much work to do but no energy whatsoever.  I found a furnished house to rent while my stuff remained stored away.  I just didn't have the energy to move and unpack.  I felt very unsettled and unsure of where I was meant to be.  This is one of the disadvantages of being so adaptable... my heart breaks a little more every time I connect with people and then have to leave.  I'm convinced it wasn't a heart attack at all, but more likely heartbreak.

My body was experiencing adrenal fatigue.  I had no energy so I slept a lot and when I wasn't sleeping, I felt chronically depressed (even though I wasn't depressed, I was just really really really tired).  Returning from the Western world was too much of a contrast from the work and life I was living in Africa. 

I also experienced writer's block.  I had so much to say but I couldn't write it down.  It was all very frustrating.  I'd lost my mojo - big time.

I wonder how much of that also had to do with the fact that the container carrying all the stuff from Canada was taking much longer than expected to get to Tanzania.  I was starting to lose hope that it would get there at all.  I'd been warned about the corruption at African ports, I'd seen it myself when people sent items via Air Freight.  I had people constantly asking me if it was there yet and I had to tell them that I hadn't heard a word.  I felt like I let people down and it was a terrible feeling.  I knew I'd done my best and that it was out of my hands but I was secretly disappointed in myself for believing I could do what everyone said was impossible.

I gained nearly 10kg too.  No energy, no exercise and eating far too much chocolate and carrot cake (comfort food).  I tried to climb the Mount (which I could easily do, twice) and I barely made it halfway.

Despite my exhaustion, I moved into a permanent rental, enrolled myself in a 36 week Money Management course and learned about Trusts, Property investment, Stocks and Shares, setting up a Will, etc.  I've also started a Life Coaching Course.  I'm preparing myself for whatever is coming next.  I've been going with the flow and accepting that whatever comes across my path is meant for me.  I'm still a yes person... just a tired one.

Zulfa sorting some of the school supplies which were delivered to the Maasai Pre-school in Ngorongoro
Then in September (2015) I got the news that the container had arrived!  It was 7 months later than originally expected.  I couldn't believe it.  Mama Zara had to send people to Zanzibar to collect it from customs.  It was a big deal and one that ended up costing thousands of dollars in customs fees and land transfer costs.  But it brought so much joy and happiness to the communities and NGO's I wanted it to get to.  Mama appointed Zulfa in charge of sorting out the items and distributing them on my behalf.  She did an absolutely amazing job.  It was a pretty major feat!  The items went a long way, I couldn't believe how much we sent.  Every day Zulfa sent me photos of the different people the items were given to and remembering that it was me who sent it.  It was very emotional.

The importer/exporter felt so good helping that he offered to do it again.  I spoke to Kelly in Canada and suggested doing another collection next year but when she heard that he had another container leaving in a few weeks she enthusiastically set out to collect school supplies to send over in time for Christmas. She's like an energizer bunny.  Her goal was to collect about 10 boxes of supplies which she figured would be easy enough.  Within 2 weeks she had collected 27 boxes of school supplies and exercise books, a whole school science lab (microscopes, teachers manuals and textbooks), soccer balls  and more.  Again I was just amazed at what this woman is capable of doing!  She's so incredible.

This science teacher gave us a whole lab including textbooks
Kelly got in touch with Chance to Play Charity

Mama Zara isn't getting involved in this shipment for good reason. I've been working at finding large sponsors to repay Zara Charity but unfortunately timing isn't great as everyone is helping the Syrian Refugee crisis. I feel indebted until that money is raised (about $4,000USD).

Instead, our importer/exporter guy (who's name is Yaquob) is going to help clear this current container from customs and deliver it. Kelly started a Go Fund Me page to help raise funds and so far we have $900 of the estimated $1,500 it will cost once it arrives. The container is due to arrive in a couple of weeks so any extra I will pay out of my savings.

Kelly and I have got some good contacts in Canada who would love to see this project continue. We've started something really amazing which is helping connect communities to each other. Yes, sending money directly to Africa would be easier but money doesn't "connect" us on a personal level.  We are sending them "pre-loved" items that can't be bought in Africa.  They are coming from families who want to see a child who has absolutely nothing, enjoy something their own children loved.

What I have found is that when people give us their things, they want to know who is enjoying them. That's the connection. People are so attached to their "stuff" in the Western world, their "stuff" becomes personal. "Stuff" equals love. People think they don't have a lot of money to give but they certainly have more stuff than they need. Our world is sick. Consumerism can ruin people's lives.

The Maasai children given books, toys and shoes
Supporting an entire community in remote Ngorongoro

This project builds a bridge... by helping the people who are so attached to "stuff" to become conscious and start sharing what they really don't need with others who do.  

I truly believe this is going to bring communities together. As people connect, even if it's through inanimate objects, we are creating relationships.

I saw it first hand when I collected that first container load. People were so excited to see who was getting their things. Children who didn't want to part with their favourite shoes (even if they didn't wear them) were happy to know they were going to a kid in Africa who didn't have a mum or dad and never owned shoes in their life. The Western child felt a deep connection to another child through a pair of Nikes... or a favourite doll... or whatever.  This small act of kindness reprograms a child from selfishness to selflessness.

Papa Joe with his new ruck sack and shoes
Imagine if every year we get one school to give us their old microscopes and textbooks or their old computers? Eventually we will have created a new school in Africa.  That's just one school! There's an opportunity here to reach out to many more.

I know I dream big, I can't help it. Together we can do this. It's really achievable. Besides, I want to get back to Africa as soon as possible.

I saw my friend Dr. Anna Rolleston for a cardiac assessment at the Cardiac Clinic.  I saw her before I climbed Kilimanjaro because I needed reassurance that I could do it.  Most doctors advised me of the risk (due to my high blood pressure and unusual heart condition).  Anna is a different kind of doctor, she knew I was going to do it regardless of what anyone said.  She told me to go for it, because she understands that life is short and it's meant to be lived to the fullest.  Unfortunately I never had a post assessment, which is a shame because when I got back after the climb in 2013, I was in the best shape of my life.  Unfortunately I stopped training after that.  So when I saw her a couple of months ago, I told her that I felt worse than ever.  She hooked me up and ran my test, my blood pressure was at an all time high of 220/180.  It was the kick in the butt I needed to lose weight and get my health back on track.

Slowly, slowly I am building up my cardio and weights thanks to Anna and her team.  I'm finally getting my energy back.  I asked my trainer last week if I could step it up a notch and he kindly reminded me that I am recovering from adrenal fatigue.  Oh right... thanks for reminding me.

After 6 weeks, my blood pressure is reducing at a steady rate.  I can't take medication because I have a very low heart rate so if I take a blood pressure tablet, my heart rate drops even lower and I feel more tired.  The answer for me is exercise and relaxation.  We are working on balancing my sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems through interval training.  It's incredible how exercise impacts blood pressure.  I'll have to write about that.

I need my strength back.  There's a lot of work to do, communities to support and lives to change.

2016 is going to be a very good year.

If you'd like to help us help them, go to our Go Fund Me page to donate.