STEP TWO: My body is my Temple - Part 1


Our whole being needs a place to live, it might as well be amazing!! My body is my temple, this is step two of the 12 step program.

When you are in balance and harmony everything runs smoothly, including your body. In fact your body is your own personal meteorologist of your well being. Have you ever noticed when something is not right you automatically feel repelled and when something lines up it feels amazing and “right”! That’s your body communicating to you. This is the best indicator in our tool belt for our well being. The only job we have to do is “learn to listen”.  

When I was 32 yrs old I ended up with a repetitive strain injury. I had been working in bakeries as a teenager and mostly loved the work. I learnt to bake things from fancy cheesecake, truffles, gourmet muffins and pies. And of course all this came with decorating, which I really liked. It was like sculpting with icing. The problem with this industry was of course wages. It falls in the retail category or small mom and pop shop, so the pay was usually shit and barely enough to get by on. When I moved to Victoria I made a decision to work at Thrifty Foods in their bakery department. Not the best atmosphere but the pay was a little better, I could take holidays pretty much whenever I wanted and if I needed extra time off it could be arranged, plus benefits. It was the 90’s so the work politics sucked. Men were always paid more and received the best hours. Of course there were no female managers except in the cash department, which paid the least. But I worked in the bakery with the men so my starting wage was $3 more an hour than cash, which is where most of the women went. I also got $2 less an hour than my male co-workers… I fought it and lost...then I decided to fight for laundered clothes. All the men had their bakery uniforms laundered by the company, the women did not. I fought that one and won!! A small victory.

But overall it was an okay job. The best and most fun parts were special orders with drawings on the cakes or wedding cakes. I loved doing wedding cakes. The hardest part of the job was big holidays like Mother's Day. We would end up making over 300 cakes over a few days. Like machines, we just pumped them out…..

I worked there for about two years before I felt some weird things going on with my body. My shoulder was constantly sore and my hands just wouldn't feel recovered the next day. I was not nearly as aware of myself as I am today. I just didn't have that connection of mind-body-soul. I was only 32 after all…I was also dyslexic. I like to say ‘was’ but I know that’s not quite right but it makes me feel better….I was the kind of person who would do my best in a trade type job, working with my hands.

After about 6 months I went to my doctor. The pain in my hands was endless. The look on my Doctor’s face was all I needed to know this was not a simple matter. He wanted me off work ASAP. This ended up being the beginning of a very long journey of healing.

I was off work for two years trying to rebuild my body. At first it was just recovery and trying to deal with the pain. Once I stopped working the pain became unbearable. My hands swelled and my mobility was gone. Then I started with different doctors and tests, physio etc. Never mind having to deal with WCB and EI. ( Workers Compensation Board and Employment Insurance )

In the second year of being off work and trying to deal with all this I started with a new program that was close to a year long. A physio type place that was all day trying to rebuild and get people back in the workforce. It was actually really great. Looking back it was really weird that it didn't include Pilates or Yoga. Of course some of the moves were similar but isn't that weird? I think it's totally weird now….anyway, I left this place with 80% use of my right hand and 60% in my left and I was told I needed to retrain into a new field of work NOT using my hands.  WHAT, OMG what was I going to do? I graduated high school with a grade 9 reading level. I had no skills but bakery work. I was not the kind of person who could jump into an office job…..

Turns out there were a bunch of programs for people like me in this position. Programs offered to help people retrain and get back into the workforce. I ended up finding a program for computer animation and basic web design. It was perfect! Turns out I learnt best in this format. Thus was the beginning for my love of computers and and all the things they can do. Perhaps I should’ve been born in 1985 instead of graduating high school then...but here we are.

We can't always be well balanced and in harmony. ‘Life happens’ so they say and our worlds are constantly changing. We get a new job, married, divorced, have a kid, our parents get old...on and on. Never mind random things like car accidents.

We also learn and grow. Isn't that the point really, to keep going and evolving? I’m not sure what I would’ve done differently when I was younger. It’s always easy to look back and say I should’ve done this or if only….but what I do know is that it changed me. The whole process of having to use my head more and rely on my body less. I wouldn’t be writing for you right now if all of this didn’t happen……

Harmony and balance has been a lifelong quest for me. All the upheavals and instability have led me to this place. Step 2 is my favourite step. I love body mechanics and health stuff. My natural place is working with my body. I unfortunately was given a body that can't handle being overworked or stressed….irony. But all the physical setbacks have made me go back to my head. How do I fix this, what do I do now?

In order for balance and harmony to be part of our being we need to feel it and experience it in order for it to stick. This is the biggest oxymoron of life. But the path to awesomeness doesn't have to be as difficult as we sometimes make it.

This step is a doozy. There is so much involved in it. We need to feed our body all the good stuff it needs and we also need to listen to it. Listening is the vital key. When your tired, sleep. When you feel repelled from something stay away from it. Start from where you are and move forward. This fine tuning of listening will become more and more accurate and sensitive as time goes by. Your skills will grow as you grow. For the next month just concentrate on listening. What is your body trying to communicate with you? You don’t have to act, just learn to listen…..Your best friend is sitting right inside you!

Be Awesome - the Captain