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Your Monday Mood-Boosting Playlist

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Your Monday Mood-Boosting Playlist

There are lots of articles online that talk about the relationship between music and mood- does music help boost mood? Can it be effective? The findings vary- YES music can be helpful but also, we can tune music out if and when we want to so in other cases, sometimes mood does trump music.

However, here at The Move to Heal Project, we LOVE music- how many times have you heard a song in your favourite exercise class that helps you push through the last portion of your workout?

How many times have you been driving, and your favourite song comes on the radio, and singing for the next five minutes takes you out of the anger you were feeling when you got lost?

How many times have you had a terrible day at work, but pressing PLAY on a calming music playlist helped with that?

We wanted to share one of our favourite fun and upbeat playlists with you-

(The perfect playlist to take you into your week).

HAPPY MONDAY!

xo MTH

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Meet Azra. This is her Story

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Meet Azra. This is her Story

 Home.

What is it - really? Rather than a physical place, it’s a feeling for most of us.

It’s that random scent you come across at the age of 30 that brings you back to your mom hanging up laundry on a clothesline.

For the majority of people home is a large puzzle made up of our values, instilled beliefs, memories and other things that cocoon our worldly identity.

Home, then, is home base. The sphere that influences all of our decisions, the friends we make, jobs we take on, partners we choose and so on. It’s the well that we drink from that determines our character.

But home for a Bosnian refugee? An immigrant child? It’s also a puzzle but one that’s missing some pieces - so you never get the see the full picture. Your entire life you end up searching for these lost links to get a sense of what home at its full realization is.

There is a burning question in your heart that nothing seems to answer, I know.

Today, I’m here to tell you it’s a futile exercise to go into the past seeking those answers.

I was born in Bosnia, moved to Germany at the brink of the Bosnian War and eventually came to Canada with my parents and brother. My mom and dad went from owning nothing but two suitcases to making their version of the Canadian Dream come true. As a child I never felt that we were lacking anything. If anything, my parents overcompensated to give us the things they never had themselves. They did the best they could with the level of awareness they had.

The rub, though, is that nothing materialistic heals wounds that non-materialistic things caused. No material thing can reverse the repercussions of the diaspora of your people.

My love for writing has always been an innate part of my nature. From the age of 6, I would write out details of my days and reflect on the relationships around me. Over the years, I’ve accumulated half a dozen journals before eventually taking my stories and poetry online. These days, I write about the transition into motherhood I’ve lived through the past 3 years.

But as time went on, my mindset has changed - and alongside it, so has my writing. And simultaneously, whether I was aware of it or not, my idea of that word, home, has transformed, as well.

Something about motherhood gave me a different perspective on it all. I recognized very quickly, I wasn’t alone in my feelings, whether it came to those that longed for my home land or those that mourned my life (and freedom) before kids. And I began understanding that my desire for something unfulfilled could only be dealt with in the present moment - not digging for it in the graveyard of the past.

I used to find solace in getting my emotions out on paper and creating fictions that I would weave anecdotal pieces into. But as good as it would feel at the time, the hurt never truly went away and would inevitably re-surface again. I recognized that my best writing came to me at my darkest moments - and I began to feel chained to the pieces, in a way someone becomes enamoured with their captivator over a period of time. The writer’s version of Stockholm syndrome. I would use my hurt as energy to create beautiful pieces and purge that burden in my chest but every time I re-read my work, I’d be transported to the exact instance that begot that piece initially. And like I said before, usually it wasn’t inspired by something chipper.

 

 The other day someone said to me - storytelling is a good thing, as long as you can separate your ego from your story. As long as your story serves a greater purpose. I took it to mean that as long as you’re writing about the past, and taking inspiration from the past, that you will wallow in that world and be unable to progress. You’ll be unable to heal and evolve to a state of inner peace. It was the first time I thought about my writing from this point of view - and surely, this piece I’m writing right now for you would’ve looked completely different if I had written it before that conversation.

I knew the identity I was creating for myself for so long was bound into my writing. Yet, it didn’t do me justice. Home, I’ve realized since, is where you feel the most yourself - without the influence of others or memories. It isn’t the place you are when you feel you need to appease others or the place you have a massive amount of guilt or sadness in. Home is being on your most authentic path, and the core of your nature aligned with that path is only exposed to you when you peel off the veils you’ve hidden behind for so long. The facade most of us operate under to keep in line with societal standards and familial tradition. Home is ahead of us.

I’m still very much a writer, a poet. A storyteller. I’m still in the deep trenches of matrescence, as well - that evolution that all women go through once becoming mothers. What has changed, for me, however, is that I’ve recognized words can be used for more than just reflection. Once you have insight and willingness to truly heal, your focus should be on the road ahead of you, starting with your present moment. It’s the only thing we really have and everything is possible in it.

My name is Azra and I do write to heal - but instead of using the scars of my past as feed for my stories anymore, I’m inspired by a higher vibration. I now plant seeds into my plots that are encased in the energy I’ve always wanted to feel. The things that were apparent at my own genesis, before memories and life warped my vision and created hurt, and the only things that will remain with my spirit once this physical world is over.

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I'm Cayla. This is my Story. Chapter 3.

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I'm Cayla. This is my Story. Chapter 3.


I am driving through back country. Dusk is falling, but there is still sun peeking above the horizon and it casts a soft glow around the entrance of the parking lot I begin to pull into. As I slow to a stop in front of the church, the stones underneath the tires ricochet off the bottom of the car. Clink clink. clink clink.

I round my back and peer through the windshield and I see her running towards me, waving. She stops on the way to say goodbye to someone, turns, laughs, continues running.
Wait- I think I should re-phrase that. She's actually not 'running'. She can't keep her composure when she runs and she gets too embarrassed so she just sort of quickly shuffles her feet with her arms pinned to her sides instead.

As I'm waiting for her to shuffle to the car, I am reminded that we were just in this parking lot a few months ago when she grabbed my hand, concerned.

"I have squishy sides", she said.

"Feel them".

She took my finger and poked it right above her pant line and in hindsight it's all so ridiculous because she's tall and blond and beautiful and we can't go anywhere without someone being completely enamoured by her.

She's excited to see me. She's just returned from three weeks in Europe and she says she has photos and stories. She opens the door, throws her overnight bag in the back, turns to face me.

"How was Europe?", I say.

Her eyes sparkle, then widen right before she smiles mischieviously. She lowers her voice.

"You're going to have to burn my journal if I die", She giggles.

My left arm is draped over the wheel so I push her leg, hard, with my right.

"Don't joke about stuff like that", I say.

I switch gears, she buckles up, I turn the car back onto the road.


Months have passed. It's 4am. I am lying on my back in complete darkness, immobilized.
I feel both everything, and nothing.

Earlier that evening I frantically search through my dresser for a medicine called Rescue Remedy.
Six drops under the tongue are supposed to help calm panic.
I finally find it underneath a bundle of socks. I unscrew the lid and throw it on the floor.

I drink the entire bottle.


The next night everyone in the house is crowded around a tiny tv to watch the evening news.
I feel a flash of anger wash over me as the reporter starts talking. He reads out the news of her
accident like a grocery list; two sentences on a flashcard.
I grab the blanket strewn across my legs and clench my fist into it until my knuckles turn white.

She is more than just two sentences on a Goddamn flashcard.

I blackout.
I come to.
I blink.

The only other thing I process from the newscast is a photo of her car with the driver side splayed open.
There is blood running down the window.
 

 

7 years later I finally call Andrew to ask for the intricate details of what happened that day.

I hear him exhale heavily into the phone. "Are you sure?" he hesitates.


The sun is shining, she leaves the house first. She is going home to study for our Psychology final.
The sun is so strong the rays block the bus that is coming, so she turns right in front of it.
They are only minutes down the road so when they see the accident in the distance, it takes a moment to register.
It's her.
They pull up and run over to help.
Tim is so overwhelmed by what he sees he leans over and vomits in the ditch.

This is the part I make Andrew tell me.
What did she look like?
Was she conscious.
How much blood was there?
How bad was it.

When my brain recounts this part of the story, it is never able to land on the actual horridity of it.
I instead, always seem to focus on two mundane details.
I sometimes wonder if this is the only way I am able to process what happened as a whole.

She is wearing sparkly lotion on her legs. That's the first one.
They see it underneath her hospital gown when she is hooked up to life support.

That morning she eats toast for breakfast. That's two.
Her Mom find the crusts on a plate when she returns home to her empty room the next day.

Sparkly lotion. Toast. Accident. Blood.

Tim is vomiting in the ditch. Andrew is holding her in his arms. They are waiting for the medics.

"Do you think she was gone at that point?"
I am holding wine in one hand, driving my fingernails into my knee with the other.
My eyes well over.
My breath hitches in my throat.
There is a long pause on the other end of the phone.

"I'd like to hope so", Andrew says.

She was wearing sparkly lotion, she ate toast, she made one wrong turn, and if I think about it too long it overtakes me.

I drive out to visit her grave and I kneel in the dew covered grass in front of it, alone with my head in my hands.
I scream out a one-sided conversation. I am angry at her for so many things.
I hate the way you run.
Your shoes are in my closet.
How could you not see a bus?
Who eats chocolate in the morning?
My chest heaves up and down when the memory appears and as the dew begins to dampen my feet, my knees, my elbows,
I close my eyes and see her smiling, holding her mittened hand towards me with a mars bar nestled into the center.


The night after I drink the rescue remedy my brain repeats like a broken record.
I just want to see you one last time
I just want to see you one last time
I just want to see you one last time

It is a plead that comes from the bottom of my soul, from the centre of my grief.

She visits me in a dream, she is surrounded by beaming white light. We hug and I feel her squishy sides and it is the last moment I have with her that feels real.

In an effort to frantically search for closure, I print off every email she's ever written me, every msn conversation. I paste them hastily into a scrapbook and when I put them in chornological order I realize something, drop the notebook, stare at the wall in angst. She always told me she loved me whenever she signed off, except for the last email she wrote me one month before she died. In that one, she said "Bye".

I don't think there is a word in the english language that exeplifies the feeling of wanting to Crawl out of your own skin.
If there was, I'd use it.
But that feeling is there, and it's real, and nothing makes sense and if I could run away from the pain, I would.
But I can't.
And I don't know what I'm doing.
And I don't know where she is.


She visits me in my dreams still, only now there is no talking.
Just her.
Strong wind.
Bright light.


That's it.

 

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On Hope

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On Hope

I have a REALLY hard time with the word HOPE- which seems strange because I've worked hard at learning to find gratitude, joy, and peace in my life- So you would think that I would be a Hope-lover. But I'm not. I'm not writing this in a negative sort of way- I'm writing it because I try and stay honest with myself- because I think that honesty is beautiful and if we want to change something we first have to acknowledge what is happening. So here it is: NOT A FAN OF HOPE.

When I was in the throes of depression it used to really bother me when people would say "All you have to do is have hope that things will get better" or "Hold on to hope". It just never made sense. It almost seemed insulting- like I wasn't hoping "enough". That if I was better at "hoping", things would all of a sudden sparkle and shine and everything would turn around. When people talked to me about Hope it seemed like it was a quick remedy. If I "Hoped", everything I was feeling would all be over and I'd be brand new. What I have realized now is that (for me) if I want something to last, there is a slow process behind that change. Good things take time. Nothing happens overnight. There is no quick fix- especially for depression and anxiety.

Another reason why I struggle with "Hope": When I was younger I used to hope for things so bad. Like I'd lie in bed at night and hope with all my heart (for a number of things I won't get into here). But I will tell you that I grew up real fast- so when I was lying in bed at night Hoping, I was dealing with large-scale trauma already. I was faced with things no child should ever have to face. So my Hopes were really, really big. And across time I was disappointed over and over again. So I think I was classically conditioned to learn that Hoping for something results in deep disappointment.

(*Again- this blog is not meant to offend anyone- I am speaking from my own experience. If you are a grand Hoper, I will support you and applaud you in that 100 percent!!)

I am at this point in my life where old thought patterns are mixing into new ones and it's hard to separate the two. I really have a hard time with Hope some days. As much as I feel conflicted by it, it also seems very natural to gravitate towards it. Moving through life just shutting off and not Hoping for anything can be really tricky. I find myself numbing out sometimes.

Anybody else with me?

It feels like when I Hope for something I'm putting that Hope in the hands of something else. I'm trusting something that I can't see. I'm a control freak and I'm working on this but in the meantime this is what I have learned to do: I Hope in myself.

I put Hope in myself. I shift the focus. For example, I recently listened to this podcast with Elizabeth Smart- she talked about how she never gave up Hope when she was kidnapped (google this story if you don't remember it, it's wild) because she believed in the Love her family had for her- she believed they would never stop looking for her.

I think that Hope and Belief at times can go hand in hand. I love this example and I think it is beautiful. However- what if you have learned to Hope in people that treated you poorly because that is how you were raised or all you knew at the time? What if that was just the way things went?

When I say I put Hope in myself it means that, while we can't control how other people treat us or how things in life are unfolding around us we can always chose to believe in, support, and love ourselves. I could Hope for things to change or get better; or I can place that Hope in my own abilities and I can tangibly use that Hope to begin to grow stronger. It's kind of like taking Hope and internalizing it instead of keeping it external.

Am I talking like I'm bananas? Does anyone feel the same way as me? How do you view Hope?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

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Feelings, Feelings, Feelings, Tacos, Feelings

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Feelings, Feelings, Feelings, Tacos, Feelings

This F word does not top my list of favourites. Namely because, after all this time, feelings still feel foreign to me (this is a lot of unintentional alliteration and I'm totally digging it, LOL)

Here's the thing. I grew up in trauma. As a result, for survival, I would naturally disassociate. I remember explaining to my Mom that I often felt like Dexter (sans the killing people part of course)- knowing in certain situations that I should feel something or act a certain way but just feeling empty on the inside.

I've worked my ass off in trauma therapy to begin to emotionally regulate myself. Now, here and there I do feel things. Sometimes super strongly. Sometimes not at all. But as time moves forward there are still MANY days where I'm like Damn ya'll, how do people move through life FEELING THEIR FEELINGS? It SUCKS AND ITS REALLY HARD SOMETIMES. Can I get an Amen.

I think that the most brave, honest thing we can do is to stand in what we are feeling, to own it, to nurture it, to not judge it, to sit with it, to not beat it with a stick, to not run away from it. In lieu of the first FEEL TO HEAL post I've compiled a list of things that have helped me with navigating the Feels and may also help you too.

1)  Find Yo Safe Space - Life can be hectic. And hard. And can feel like it's moving at 1000 miles an hour. I used to work 14 hour days in restaurant management, 5-6 days a week and often times the thing that saved me was knowing I could come home and sit on my yoga mat in this corner nook that I made in my apartment. I made that nook so freaking cozy, and warm and inviting and then I didn't let anyone else come into my nook because it was my space to let all my shit out. Create a safe space that you can come back to and see what happens. (And maybe your safe space isn't at your house- maybe its at a SoulCycle in the studio. Maybe its in your woodshop. Wherever it is- whatever you want to be- just make it and claim it as YOUR PLACE).

2) Create space, then Sit with it. Release it- I completed my yoga training with this bright, beautiful soul named Amelia from Winnipeg. She gave birth to a baby boy and then lost him shortly after. She has been super honest and open about how this process has changed her and her life- and I remember reading about how (and I'm paraphrasing because this was awhile ago) she decided to set aside 30 minutes every day to just sit with it all. I remember her saying that even on days when she felt ok, she would still take the 30 minutes. I also really like this example because I find the compartmentalization helpful. For ex, When the feels came up and I was running a service on a 14 hour day, I would set it aside in my mind and know that I could come back to it later during that 30 minute time frame when I was home. Things are different now that I'm out of the restaurant industry but there are still days when I come home, lay on my back, stare up at the ceiling and just feel it all (without any vices) even though it hurts like hell. I know this sounds fluffy but its not. I've battled my demons in this space. Its hard. But you got this. You are strong enough to sit through anything.

3) Stop Beating the Shit out of Yourself- I know, I'm swearing a lot in this post. But I'm serious. Stop beating the shit out of yourself. This is the HARDEST thing to change but will have the greatest impact on your life. This is a super slow process and it takes a lot of mental work but it is definitely possible. Let me tell you this. You are entitled to your feelings. All of them. Your journey is different than everyone else around you. What you say matters, what has happened to you matters, how you feel about it matters. Whatever asshole voice in your head is ridiculing you about the way you are moving through something or dealing with something- that voice does not belong to you. And you can trump that voice by re-learning a new one. I promise. I've done it. But it's about re-training your mind. Writing encouragement letters to yourself works. Writing cheesy positive stuff on post it notes works. Keeping a journal and writing hilarious stuff in it works. Anything. Just start small. Find ways to encourage yourself. Even if it feels unnatural, you gotta fake it till you make it. 

4) Surround Yourself with Good People- My life HUGELY shifted when I began to look at my close relationships and see what was serving me and what wasn't. I had to get honest with myself. Support systems are EVERYTHING. And I know that I can't move through all this stuff on my own. I need encouragement and guidance from strong, empowering, kind women. I need that. We aren't hard-wired to do this on our own anyways. No one is. I know now that on days I'm struggling with the Feels, I have a crazy awesome support system of people I can call to say Hey. I'm having a hard time. Can you listen for a few minutes? Can you offer me some Love? Everyone deserves to feel supported and loved and accepted and I encourage you to seek this out if it is missing in your life.

That's it, that's all for now. I never know how to end these. Feel your feels and eat some tacos BYE! xo

 

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