Shutting Down Kung Fu Mama!

After pondering this for a few weeks, I have decided that it is time to shut it down!  The Kung Fu Mama blog has been a labour of love and a documentation of my journey between my first breakdown and my second one.  It was a reflection of the me that was trying to bridge Tiger Mom to find an approach that could bring me the balance of health and happiness that I was seeking for me and my family, especially for the kids.

It’s not that the Kung Fu Mama approach didn’t work… it’s that… it… wasn’t… quite… me.  I am not a Kung Fu Mama.  Not yet anyway.  I haven’t earned the title and I don’t want to commit cultural appropriation for something I have so much respect for.  My amazing Kung Fu school is still going to be a big part of my life, but the next stage of the journey begins with a new profile: Healthy Joyous Mama.  This is the me I can be when I’ve achieved balance, when I’m confident, when I’m comfortable.

It’s simple: there is no magic bullet, no panacea for our problems, no one way.  Only daily habits, baby steps, moving forward, learning from our mistakes, growing, developing, loving, figuring.  We just set our goals and make our way there.  And my goals are health and joy.  It’s pretty simple.

It’s complex: it’s all inter-related, everything affects everything else, no one REALLY knows, do they?  We can only plan when we can, hope for the best, prepare for the worst and GO FOR IT!  My health goals are physical, mental and spiritual.  My joy goals are for me, my family, my friends and my work.  None of this can truly be compartmentalized, they all kind of ebb and flow into each other. It’s pretty complex.  It’s so hard to balance.

It’s about balance: We have THIS MUCH time and energy.  We THAT MUCH to do in order to get what we want (even if it is for as small a goal as getting through the day).  We need to INVEST in what can help us and REDUCE what can harm us. Pain and suffering tell us that something is not in balance.  Shutting out or avoiding that discomfort means that we aren’t learning the lesson… and it will keep coming back.  So… the simple answer is: when in imbalance or feeling pain, figure it out.  And the complex answer is: there are many moving parts, figure it out.

Peace and love to you all.

(If you are so inclined, please feel free to visit healthyjoyousmama.wordpress.com.)

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Extra! Extra! Read All about It! I’ve Discovered the Panacea to Good Health!

Gotcha.

There is no panacea, magic pill, secret sauce, or one thing that can fix our health. Our bodies are made up of various systems that operate symbiotically at different levels, interrelated in complicated ways. So much that science tells us and yet so much that researchers still do not truly understand. So many ancient remedies that seem like old wives’ tales, and yet… at least anecdotally, a lot of them seem to work. So many people peddling their one secret Way. Just buy their book, take their master course, or sign up to be coached by them. And under the comments section, one can read just as many “thank you, this helped me so much” boxes as “this is a hoax and a waste of your money”.

What does that mean for those of us trying to find our way?

It means each of us has our own individual path, we must do our own research, we have to experiment on ourselves and try out different things, we need to rely on our own common sense and intuition to discover what can work for us. We need to develop persistence in doing routines that are good for us and resilience not to slide into bad habits that are detrimental to us.

We can only share our own experience and successes and not necessarily give advice to encourage others to take our paths. Our personalized, customized-for/us, and through-trial-and-error ways.

If I were to write a book after I reach my ultimate level of health and wellness because people want to know how I did it, it would be called “No, There is NO Magic Pill: Baby Steps to Physical and Mental Wellness”

Chapter 1: There is No Panacea

Chapter 2: Food, Exercise, Sleep, Thought, Feeling, Relationship

Chapter 3: Try What You Can Afford Versus Advice from Chinese Parents

Chapter 4: It’s All Related; Do Your Research

Chapter 5: You Start Where You Start

Chapter 6: Break the Vicious Cycle Somewhere

Chapter 7: Find Your Tribe; Do What You Love

Chapter 8: Reframe Your Perspective: Helpful or Harmful?

Chapter 9: Decide What You Want and Just Do It

Chapter 10: You Don’t Fail Until You Quit

I am incredibly proud of myself. Over the past few months, I have changed my relationship with food, established that an average of 10,000 steps daily is doable, and fit into some of my all time favourite clothing that I have not been able to wear in a long time (many years). One concrete measurement is weight… and I’m happy to say that I’m down 20 lbs from my high of 200+ lbs.

I will write that book once I’ve hit 150 lbs, can run a 10k, and am the picture of health both physically and mentally. Stay tuned!

Cheat Day: Roundthe6ix Trip – Monument to the War of 1812

I’m cheating today.  We started Roundthe6ix as our family project where we each can only pick one photo to blog and write about.  The topic today was the toy soldiers monument by Douglas Copeland representing the War of 1812.

We had an amazing walk, through small streets and down to the Lakeshore then back up through Fort York.  We can see Lake Ontario peek through at certain times, we see all the crazy condo complexes being built up, and there is always our amazing CN Tower.  I got to show my boys my Gentle Kung Fu routine.  The weather was sublime and we got our steps!

It’s also a great opportunity to hang out with three of my most favourite people in the world and play with my new (old, hand me down) toy… So anyway, yes, right, one photo.  I took a bunch of photos and have selected mine for Roundthe6ix.  But I really like the other photos I’ve taken too. So here it goes.  I’m posting up all the ones that didn’t make it into Roundthe6ix.

“Monument to the War of 1812” by Douglas Coupland

If the Americans won in 1812, President Trump would be my President today.  So… I’m rather appreciative of the British for fighting over Canada… and I’m more than grateful to all the soldiers who fought for the freedoms and safety that we now enjoy, however precariously.

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I never let go an opportunity to take a photo of our beautiful CN Tower.

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Toronto, where you can see more cranes than care to count.  There are six or seven of them in this photo alone!

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I posted a Bill, I posted a Bill!  Will they prosecute Bill Stickers?

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First Day of Class

Apprehensive about the first day of class, I put on my black kung fu pants and brand new dry fit yellow shirt.  It was hard not to notice that it was an out-of-shape body in the mirror, reflecting back at me, but there was also a spark of excitement in the dark eyes. So I tucked my shirt in, tied up my ponytail, tied the laces of my white kung fu shoes, sucked in my tummy and nodded at the new Kung Fu student in the mirror with determination. The boys had also changed and were already running around with their friends, laughing and exploring their recently developed strength and skills. They tumbled together, wrestling each other.

My instructor is a gentle soul and I knew this because she’s chatted with me from time to time, but I was pretty intimidated by the beautiful, strong, flexible and intense figure standing there calling us “Form in!”

Oh, look at what the boys are doing!  Whoops, I need to stand here.  Oh, too close to my classmate. Okay, here.

As I stood there, side-by-side, with my classmates, I could feel my insecure self getting ready to voice its usual negative sentiments. I’m so out of shape.  My ankles hurt. My knees are creaking.  My stomach is sticking out. I have a big butt. My face is huge. Taking a breath, I tried to ignore its presence and instead, focused on the instructor.

Hey, the boys need to concentrate more on what they should be doing!  Oh they need to be doing their stances better.  Why are they talking?  Whoops, I need to focus on my own class.

After our greeting, warm up began. We followed the instructors as she led us around the room in a gentle jog.  My muscles started waking up and my breath began to shorten as my body reacted to the shock of exercise after years of a sedentary lifestyle.  Muscle memory kicked in and I ran faster, faster, faster, but lung capacity held me back as I gasped for oxygen and I started feeling lightheaded and dizzy. Waves of nausea washed over me as I slowed down and beads of sweat dripped from my forehead onto the mat.

I have to stop. I’m going to sick up. I’m going to pass out. I don’t want to give up. I look stupid.  No one is looking at me. Hey, look at the boys. Oh, I don’t feel good.

My instructor gently reminded us that we should think of the long run: slow and solid like a mountain. I slowed down everything, tempered my effort to be commensurate with my current physical ability.

Slow and steady. I can do this. Don’t look at the boys. Just 10 more seconds. I can do this. Just 5 more seconds.  Yeesh, my leg hurts from holding it up. 4. 3. 2. 1.

I made it through my first class!