Monday, March 26, 2012

Hoe gaat het? Het is mooi weer!

When I arrived in the Netherlands I wanted to try to learn a bit of the language if I was able to. I registered at the city for Dutch lessons in August. I was told that the courses offered through the University weren't great and that if I was able to afford private lessons or a private school I should do that. So when I got the call that I had been selected and I wasn't going to have to pay I was super excited. The process of being examined for placement, going for interviews and finally getting placed in a school has taken this long. I was beginning to wonder if it was ever going to happen. But today was finally the day. I was both nervous and excited. Nervous because I am starting from absolute zero and excited because the only place to go is up :) When I arrived in the classroom there were only three other students; Jordan from Bulgaria, Jing from China and Victor from Russia. Victor had on a hockey Canada hat so we started chatting right away when he saw my hockey Canada bag. Jordan speaks 4-languages and this will be his 5th. People here are so much further ahead when it comes to learning languages.
My teacher was a friendly looking lady with a big smile and a distinct euro style of dress. Her name is Nicky and she is wonderful. Right from the beginning she expressed that she would only be speaking in Dutch because that is the best way to learn to speak a language. I started to sweat, I felt like I was in over my head and this was never going to work. I started to get embarrassed of my lack of understanding when I thought to myself we are all here to learn and if I'm willing to support others they should be willing to support me and they were. We jumped into it and you know what, it wasn't so bad. It's amazing what you are able to understand when someone speaks slowly, repeats and couples the language with non-verbal communication as well. Today we learned how to greet people; hoi, dag, hallo and goedemorgen. We also learned how to introduce ourselves; Mijn naam is Alana, ik ben Alana and ik heet Alana. We also "loop door de klas. Geef en hand." We walked around the classroom and practiced while we shook hands with our colleagues. I've decided that I am going to be patient, work at my own pace and enjoy this experience. NO PRESSURE! I'm really excited that I get the opportunity to learn and be able to participate in conversations with Dutch friends and most of all to know when people are talking about me ;)

Friday, March 16, 2012

My Emotions Manifest in my Body

During my Osteopathy course in February I had the opportunity to receive a treatment from my teacher. It was like winning the lottery! Our teachers are great instructors but more then that they are exceptional practitioners. They are the best of the best in our field and as part of our Osteopathic learning experience we have the opportunity to receive a treatment from a teacher at some point in our 5-years of formal schooling. Every student in our class is put on "the List" and each course you cycle through the list. As you can imagine the list is long and in the end you are lucky if you get treated twice during your five years of study. Some students in class have never seen an Osteopath and treatment at school and from our teachers is their only reference. When I was at home I would see MY Osteopath, Dave Murray, every 8-weeks or so. Spoiled!!!!! I haven't been treated since I got here so when I was told I was next on the list I was SUPER excited. I didn't have any pressing concerns but treatment is always beneficial and there are always things to work on. When I was asked what my primary concern was I expressed that when I was doing some overhead squats a week earlier I had some numbness into my thumb and pointer finger and was worried I might be developing thoracic outlet or potentially it might be a restriction in my pec or scalene, a rib or cervical vertebrae that was out - oh and I had rolled an ankle about 4-weeks previous to that. I wasn't too worried about anything, just thought I should give some things to keep him busy for the hour :)
I consider myself to be a very health person; I sleep a minimum of 8-hours a night, I exercise daily, I eat healthfully - 90% of the time, I drink water, I take a multi vitamin, I rarely drink, I have never get the idea! So during my assessment when my teacher said "You have very little vitality" I couldn't believe my ears. The competitive person in me was almost a little offended, what does he know - I'm oozing vitality! He said that there was so much to treat he didn't even know where to start. He adjusted my feet, my sacrum, hip, my diaphragm but when he got to my kidney - things got crazy. He asked if I had recently been deeply afraid of something. He said my Kidney was restricted because it is the organ that holds fear. I had been thinking about leaving Nick next year and the future and I was afraid! How could he know this??? I didn't realize the fear was manifesting as a kidney restriction. He treated my kidney and my entire body changed. He treated my pericardial ligament and sternum and I felt like someone had lifted a 20lb bag of sand off my chest. I felt like I was taking my first deep breaths in months. Osteopathy is amazing! I hope that some day I am half the Osteopath that my teacher is.
I am constantly in awe of the human body; its strength, its adaptability, its ability to tell a story and an Osteopaths ability to read that story. Previously, I had my liver treated and learned that it is the organ of frustration and anger. No wonder I was grumpy! I will have to tell Nick that next time I am grumpy it is because I have a restriction in my liver ;) I am so lucky to have the opportunity to learn and experience Osteopathy. I have no words except, AMAZING!

Monday, March 5, 2012


I have always been someone who quickly forgives. Early in my life I thought this was because I was a wimp but I just felt better when I had resolved things and forgiven myself and/or the other person. I have never had the tendency to get mad at people. If anything, I would get sad at them. Which, many people have found to be more difficult to deal with. I have never been someone who holds on to anger or has a desire to get back at those who have wronged me and I have a hard time relating to those who do. I think when people have that "eye for an eye" mentality it's because of ignorance or emotional immaturity or there is something within them that they feel they themselves don't deserve forgiveness. When I was younger and my sisters and I would argue I felt, in that moment, I would never forgive them and our relationship would never be the same - but family is family and we always forgave. My mother and father are both people who forgive quickly and give the benefit of the doubt and I think this is something that I learned from them. This isn't to say that people don't lose their tempers (all of us) and say things they regret (me) but in our family there is no shame in an apology. My family definitely believes in turning the other cheek and giving people the benefit of the doubt. Our family does have its differences and disagreements but at the foundation of our family is unconditional love. I remember a time in my life when I made a mistake - what I thought was a BIG ONE - and I thought that my mom was going to be ashamed of me and never forgive me. When I finally told her what I had done she said "I love you no matter what. If you killed a man I would love you and stand by you. My love is unconditional.", now that is some serious love. I have come to recognize that not all people live their lives this way and I know that some people may even see our quickness to forgive as a weakness. They see that opening yourself up for hurt is a sign of vulnerability but I truly believe that it takes strength, integrity and a respect for self and for humanity to forgive. Forgiveness is not forgetting but it is believing that all people can learn and grow and be better then they have been before. I believe that a willingness to forgive and to show compassion is the only way to live a rewarding life. Through my studies in yoga I have learned a lot about myself and what I believe. I strongly align myself with the belief that when you forgive you are able to cultivate love for yourself and for others and to foster love in those around you. Showing forgiveness and compassion for others and yourself is the path to enlightenment. When you forgive, you are forgiven! Forgiveness means that you do not have negative feeling towards others and that you recognize that a person today is not the same person they were yesterday. Everyday we are different; we learn, we experience, we grow, we change. It doesn't mean that you don't take action but it means that you take action free of hatred and with emotional intelligence.
So the message today is practice forgiveness, compassion and love for yourself and your fellow man. We get one chance at this life and the more time we can spend living happily and peacefully the more enlightened our life can be. I will forgive Nick and hold no resentment toward him for opening a new tube of toothpaste before the old one was finished, man that bugs me, but life is too short and if that's the only thing I have to be upset about things are pretty darn good:) Love ya!!!!!!!