View from a run

And so we write. In journals, on napkins, in notebooks, in the notes app on my smartphone, on scrap pieces of paper, on my laptop. Words, thoughts, ideas, unfiltered screamings of the mind, sandwiched between gentle soothings of the heart. For a writer, every empty space is a canvas and every situation a setting.

 

Where will the words go? Will they be read by others? Sometimes, and sometimes not. Often they are an aligning, a righting of self through writing, a way to honour oneself without distractions of technology, of other people’s opinions, judgements or views. To capture magic and the mundane. Words are a reflection, or an unveiling of the truth. A chance to lay bare all the doubts, the joys, the truths, and the hopes.

 

The hopes. The desire that lay dormant until you turned a corner on that run and saw a view that reminded you of a long-forgotten idea. The dream that you shape-shifted into something else, only to realize that the old shape was just fine the way it was.

 

We will get stuck at times. We will feel like the words are drying up, or they don’t hold the same power, or that they make no sense. And it is in this time of “stuck-ness,” that it is most important to write. It is most important to get those thoughts, no matter how faded and faint they feel, down on the page.

 

And so we write.

Journalling on the yoga mat

I’ve kept a journal for as long as I can remember. Over the years, my journals have held many ridiculous imaginings, fuelled some wild daydreams, and served as a place to sort through my problems (big and small). My journal is the place where I cannot hide from my thoughts or feelings. It is where my deepest truths fall out, even the ones that I’m most afraid of facing. The act of writing gives me perspective, and allows me a space to explore both the most mundane and the most intense experiences.

 

But I have another journal of a different kind: my yoga mat. Each time I step onto the mat, my body tells a story. I become aware of sensations in my muscles and joints that I may not notice (or choose to ignore!) during the rhythm of a typical day. It’s easy to travel through our daily schedules without paying attention to the effect each movement has on the physical body, not to mention the emotions we hold within. I can ignore a slight pain in the hip, some stiffness in the neck, or a nagging tug at the hamstrings as I go from one activity to another. But on the mat, as I begin to focus on my breath, and the framework of the postures, I can’t avoid feeling imbalances or tensions that have arisen in my body. And as I move through my yoga practice, I can consciously work towards bringing my physical (and mental) self back into, or closer to, alignment.

 

The days when I least feel like rolling out my mat are often the days when I need my yoga practice the most. Just as my journal provides a place where I can sift through my thoughts and let the page hold them in plain view, my yoga mat is the space where I can sort through what my body needs at any given time.

 

Do you use your yoga mat as your physical journal? What story does your body tell?

 

 

Love heartI’m a fan of any celebration of love, so I’m a natural lover of Valentine’s Day. Sure, I adore flowers and always welcome romantic dinners, but there are many ways to celebrate love that don’t involve chocolates, overpriced meals or more “stuff” to fill the house with. My favourite moments cost very little and are ultimately more meaningful in the long-term.  Instead of going the typical consumer route, why not try out one (or all) of these simple and free gifts this year for your partner and/or your kids.

 

1. Be Present

Guaranteed to be the best free gift you can give to your partner (and/or kids.) Put your smartphone/computer/tablets away for a solid chunk of time and let them have your full and undivided attention. Spend less time talking and more time truly listening.

 

2. Write a love letter

There are many things we appreciate and love about our partners and our kids that they might not hear us say on a daily basis. Sitting down to physically write our expressions of love for someone benefits not only the one receiving the letter, but makes the person writing it feel good also.

 

3. Get Outside and Be Active Together

Plan a family activity (or couples activity) outdoors. Being active as a family or with your partner is a wonderful way to spend time together away from the usual stressors of household chores/to-do lists. Time in nature is also a proven mood-booster.

 

4. Make Your Favourite Meal Together

Whether you’re planning a candlelit dinner with your partner after the kids are in bed, or a family celebration, conversation over tasty food is always a good way to connect with each other. Pick your favourite dishes and chef up a yummy meal that you can savour together. (And leave the dishes for later.)

 

5. Extra Hugs and cuddles

Whether we’re five or fifty-five, the importance of touch and physical intimacy is undeniable. Some of us are natural huggers and others have to make a concerted effort to increase our physical contact. Regardless of your nature, by ensuring lots of hugs and cuddles this Valentines Day, you’re bound to spread a whole lot of extra love. And who can deny that love is a good thing?

Tennis Contest Info

If you’re in Toronto, and looking for some fun activity for your kids over the holidays, click on the picture and take a guess at how many tennis balls are in this basket. Leave your guess, your name and email in the comments below. The person who guesses the closest number wins a free week at the Lytton Sports camp. Contest closes December 12th.

Good luck!

Thank you to everyone who participated. The correct number of balls is 65, so the winner of the contest is Cathy Thomas who guessed the closest at 48! Congratulations, Cathy!

 

 

Hello!

 

Thanks so much for stopping by to check out Annabel Fitzsimmons – Whole Living.

 

This labour of love has been a long time in the making. A huge thank you to ChickleDesign for their amazing work (and patience).

 

This new and improved site came about after I realized that I was carrying five business cards and running three different sites covering the range of stuff I do in my “life work”. So I spent the last year figuring out how everything could sit in one place. What became clear along the way is that everything I do has a similar intention: to share resources to empower people to live healthy, fulfilled and whole lives. It might be through a physical path (like yoga, Pilates, or running); a mental path (like meditation, reading or creative writing); or simply through finding humour in everyday life situations.


So, why the name, “whole living”? When we look at our lives as a whole, they are the sum of many parts, of many roles. All of these parts in equal or unequal terms make us the complex and fantastic people we are. We should never be defined – or define ourselves – by one aspect of our lives. Instead, knowing how these parts of us fit together at any given time allows us to celebrate what works and makes us content, or when to make a change if something needs changing. To me, this is whole living, or living with awareness.

 

Whole living is about constantly recalibrating life to include the things, people and activities that are important. It is about knowing what works for you, your family, your relationships, your career, and for your physical, mental and emotional self. Life is full of contradictions, of glorious extremes. But what is important at the end of the day is looking at life as a whole, as a big picture.

 

This site will be a landing pad of information that can contribute to healthy, happy and whole living. You’ll find yoga information and podcasts, meditations for adults, bedtime meditation for kids, health and wellness articles, and news on my classes, workshops, retreats or speaking engagements.

 

Some days you’ll find yoga tips or sequences here on the blog, some days you’ll find a parenting story, some days you’ll hear about my latest food fad and sometimes I’ll be sharing links to stories or articles I think might be of interest to you.

 

I hope you’ll take a look around – whether it’s to develop a practice, to have a read, or to take a listen. I look forward to a sharing a whole lot of living with you.