Life Balance — The Key to Personal Stability 

#life-balance #life-coach #success #balance  

Above are the main areas that need balancing for most people. Some will take out or add one or two areas but, in general,  we all want the same thing —life balance which, in turn, makes us less vulnerable to perceived failure and more focused on the successful completion of our end goal. 

Mental and Physical Health 

I have continually stressed the most important factor to happiness is leaving yourself open to success by being of sound mind and body. This doesn’t just mean you need to be in perfect health — it means you need to live up to your maximal capacity and capabilities with the physical or mental situation you’re in at the moment. And whether this situation changes or not, you need to always strive to be the best you can. 

Family, Friends, and Community 

People always need to belong. The longing for belonging often makes us opt for the wrong things. As long as we learn from these choices,  time is never wasted on them.  

We need to keep close relationships with family and friends. The challenge arises when one or more people among these groups tend to bring about toxic behavior or feelings in us. These are people who are often negative for us. They impede our progress and often make us regress. It is not selfish to keep these people from affecting us adversely. We’d be doing both them and us a favor. 

At the same time we need to branch out into the community. We need to make strides in achieving our end goal. With healthy community and filial outlets, the road becomes calmer, clearer, and more interesting.

Professional and Financial Success 

It is difficult to define what professional success is to different people. It is even harder to quantify financial success. A life coach goes through the steps of defining your ambitions and your success in them. Plans are drawn up to recognize yourself as a person before you delve into progressing successfully in achieving your professional and financial goals. 

In the end, we all have our own unique personality which will define what the best road to success is. It’s a matter of finding out how our knowledge and experience can be used. 

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Get Rid of Constant Fatigue and Invigorate Your Life 

#fatigue #diet #sleep #health 

I got a request from a 35-year-old, otherwise healthy, woman to help her with her fatigue. She had been to the doctor and the diagnosis was stress with, as usual, the mundane advice of “just get rid of the stressors in your life”. The woman could not get rid of her husband, children, and job. And this is when you get frustrated and stop seeing the doctor and give up, accepting all your “incurable ” ills as part of getting old and weary prematurely. Just look at the picture above. That’s your goal. If you don’t like running, then Google some other desirable icon and let it be your goal. My aim with this young lady was to make her fatigue and fear go away. All she needed was the right type of knowledge to become confident and empowered. 

Detoxify and Energize your Morning 

The detoxification of all the crap in our bodies needs to begin in the morning. Water with lemon is the best way to start this process. Make sure you have nothing till you drink a cold glass or a hot cup of this. I would recommend adding baking soda if you can digest it properly. It can do wonders for your immune system. 

0% yoghurt is for people who absolutely have a problem with fat or cholesterol. If possible, 5%, or full fat,  yoghurt is the best way to go. We need as much good fat as possible. And don’t forget the superiority of Greek yoghurt. When we take in the protein and good fat value, there is no question that any other kind of yoghurt is quite inferior. Yoghurt is essential in starting off your day. 

Adding Maca to your yoghurt will give you all the necessary energy-boosting advantages above. Adding honey or pure maple syrup can also help you ultra boost your morning. And remember, the morning decides the rest of your day.  Eggs and avocados are also great for energy, as are raspberries. Try to incorporate theseinto your diet in the morning or during the day. 

The Need for Proteins 

Nuts, in small amounts, are the best energy -boosting snacks. 

Protein needs to be incorporated into your diet every day. Meat needs to be eaten. Make sure it’s of the highest qualitywith no hormones or additives. 

The best source ofnatural pure protein is salmon. As far as non-meat products go, hemp is the only protein source with all the essential amino acids of meat. Always have some in the fridge or pantry. 

Wake Up Energized and Stay That Way 

We again have to get back to the morning. I can’t emphasize enough on how the morning is by far the most important part of your day in terms of fueling up for the long hours ahead. 

If you wake up invigorated, you won’t be yawning in front of your computer. People generally need between 6 to 9 hours of sleep a night. This varies by individual and quality of sleep. How do we get quality sleep? It’s much easier said than done. As a physician would say,  get rid of the thoughts in the image below. 

These problems affect almost everyone. In difficult situations, they can overwhelm and put us on the brink of a burnout. This must be avoided at all costs. But the answer is not quitting your job or locking the world away. The solution involves tackling your problem and finding a solution. Let’s face it, stressors will always exist and we’ll need to know how to build coping mechanisms. I will not go into detail here. Suffice it to say it takes yoga and /or meditation. It can also include running and going to the gym. It takes talking to a professional. This is something we need to overcome. There is no shame in seeking counseling. The shame is in not being able to ever get your energy back or recover from mental or physical illness due to stress. 

My Advice in a Nutshell 

Fatigue is an important stage in the physical and mental deterioration of the body due to poor or rigid lifestyle choices that have brought about overexertion and stress. It is a cry for help that needs to be addressed immediately. 

You need to change your lifestyle while not giving up your life. You need to come out of this a stronger person, not one that has been scarred and is more limited than before. This is the problem here and it’s because drugs are given instead of natural remedies and advice. Sure, drugs have their role. But only in emergencies and where all options have been exhausted. 

In this case, the young woman needs to eat and sleep better, increasing her protein and good fat intake. She needs to exercise more and see herself from outside her subjective bubble. 

Where the Streets Have No Name 

#Park-Extension #lane 

What better memories of childhood than laundry drying on the clotheslines in the lane. Just the lane. No name. In Park Extension,  it’s the lane between 2 north-south streets where we would play pick-up sports, hang around, or even test our new handmade slingshots. 

But the following could also be seen. Part of the landscape, for better or worse. 

Tristana by Luis Bunuel —Review 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066491/

#Tristana #Bunuel #Catherine-Deneuve 

There’s nothing quite as exciting for a cinéphile than watching a film of someone who was exiled from his own country. There must be something from his political outlook in it. There must be something that will make you have a mini epiphany. 

Luis Bunuel was exiled for his political beliefs by the Spanish junta. He was someone low-key as a filmmaker. He was even disgusted when his film,  “Tristana”, was up for an Academy Award for best foreign film. He must have been relieved not to have won. Perhaps it didn’t win because the film was too progressive for North American sensors and even audiences. This was 1970 of course. It was the beginning of more freedom of expression and,  believe it or not,  the depiction of women somewhat a bit away from the beaten path. Bunuel,  ever the ‘nationalist patriot’ wanted an all-Spanish cast. He had to acquiesce and, among others, put the sexy and sultry French actress Catherine Deneuve in the starring role. I can’t imagine anyone doing a better job playing the title role. 

The film begins slowly and is somewhat wordy, giving me the vibe of a theatre play. The ever-so-innocent Tristana is probably of legal age when her mother dies and leaves her in the care of the perfectly -cast Fernando Rey as Don Lope. Don Lope is a man who loathes work and has survived on what seems to be the backs of others. He is perhaps Bunuel’s image of himself, but of a sort that was stepped on and stepped on others. The man is respectable in public,  but we find out he’s a letch. He wants to,  and becomes, both father and husband to Tristana. The girl doesn’t have much choice. She has nowhere to go. She needs permission to go out. But like almost any girl,  she defies him and finds a boyfriend. Another lover. 

This is the gist of the plot. It’s the character studies that are important here. Don Lope is poor and a miserable person until he inherits the family wealth when his sister dies. He slowly morphs into a caring man, which seems surprising. He has to work his way up to it, but he succeeds where most fail —money makes him a better man. 

When Tristana comes back to town because of cancer, he opens his home to her again and takes her abuse. We seem to feel less sorry for her, as she lets her hate consume her. And it seems like she has a perverted side we need to figure out. 

In the most daring scene of the movie,  Tristana opens her bedroom door and flashes her bare chest at the deaf Saturno, a younger man that she always defended earlier and whom she uses as her wheelchair chauffeur now.  It seems she has sex with him whenever she feels like it. This sets up the last part of the film well because we have seen what happens when you are abused. Or perhaps when you have power that you didn’t have before. 

I’m not sure how well Bunuel was acquainted with James Joyce’s “The Dubliners”, specifically “The Dead” short story. It is snowing out there, and we can feel Don Lope will depart soon. He is moribund, yet happy. Fulfilled. In the end,  Tristana pretends to call the doctor when Don Lope is in extreme pain. Instead, she seems to have let him die. How the innocent have strayed. How the wicked always get their way. 

Tristana is a small masterpiece because it is not shy to reveal the reality of humanity gone astray. And we can see that everything happens for a reason. 

Rating: 8.5/10

Antiparos,Greece — Class, Calm,  and Nudism 

#antiparos #Greece #nudists #Cyclades 

It took my friend and me 2 hours to circle Paros with out scooters. It would have taken longer if he wasn’t driving the scooter like a Canadian tourist, holding on tightly for dear life at every sharp turn. I knew I was completely fearless and stress-free when little matters like life and safety came in a distant second to just being there for the moment. Paros is the perfect example of a white and blue windmilled island in the Cyclades.  

Then we came upon this sign 

The next day I took the 12 o’clock 2-minute fairy fairy ride to Antiparos. The 4-hour interval between fairies wasn’t surprising. Even in as secluded a place as Antiparos, the siesta rule was still in effect. The law in most places banned any excessive and /or unnecessary noise between 2 and 5 in the afternoon.  It sort of fit the schedule here. And this makes it interesting, because it’s easier to get a feel when there’s less people up and about. 

Camping sites are usually the main areas for tourism on the island and usually easily accessible to the general public. It’s no different here. The camping site is also home to the first nudist beach in the Cyclades. 


It is quite small, but very popular. I just reached this point of it and headed back, since being clothed seemed to be frowned upon, according to the manager of the camping site. 

Antiparos has a very small population and a relatively small amount of tourists. For this reason, the beaches are quite abundant and you can pretty much do what want on any beach. 

I like to see some people on the beach. It being late-August, the off season was starting. I drove around a bit till I came here. 

The water is extremely calm and clean. I decided to camp out here and take a small swim. It is never too hot on these islands,  as there are constant winds blowing. The 34 degrees seemed very tolerable. As I lay down reading my book, I slowly fell into lovely slumber. It was so relaxing. I knew where I was yet I was dreaming and sleeping deeply. After an hour, I got up and realized that the dream had ended. I was indeed on a beach in Antiparos. I went for a cold Frappé coffee.

Still trying to snap out of slumber,  I was approached by a girl who told me her name was Bianca and that she was from Belgium.  She asked if I wanted to buy her a drink. I looked at her and decided she was doing this independently so I agreed.  We chatted mostly in French. She had been there for a couple of weeks and had been inspired to paint. With September coming the following week, she had to go to a bigger European city for the off season. She had mentioned Prague, but thought it too saturated.  I listened to this confused girl and asked her if she was alone. All her friends had left the island to continue their island hopping. They hadn’t found their inspiration. 

We finished and hopped on my scooter and went to her place. It was quaint, overlooking some olive trees and some farmland. There was a steady breeze blowing in. Her room was part of a Greek family’s home. She told me they lived here year-round.  Having told her I collected paintings, she showed me some she thought were good. I picked out one in the back of the pile and told her I’d buy that one. It was an elementary piece of work that looked like water colour class. But it sort of stuck out. I sensed a tinge of despair on her face. Sort of like I was insulting the rest of her work. I picked up the painting and asked her if she wanted to eat at a nice restaurant. 

We went to a relaxing and classy place. The good thing about the islands is that you never have to dress well. At least not in the smaller islands. 

We ate and had a good time. One of the best part of my island trip was my discovery of how the most important thing in sustaining interest with others was a good conversation. In my case, it was with much younger women. I wasn’t middoe-aged, yet it felt cathartic every time I got inside the mind and body of one. It was a form of sensory communication where everything just seemed to fall into place. 

In hindsight, this may have been the doing of a relaxed mind that was able to reach whatever potential it strove for. Either way, the metropolis made it much harder before and after my trip. 

Depression Is Out of the Closet — Just Smile Back

#depression #mental-illness #lady-Gaga #prince-William 

I’m glad to see that even the Royal family gets the blues. And it’s a big step forward to see Prince William reach out with the help of Lady Gaga, who has spoken about her PTSD after being raped at age 19.  Gaga feels depressed in the morning, like many dealing with depression do. Though many celebrities have come out in one way or another,  I have never seen such an outpouring of knowledge about mental illness as in the last few days. People are beginning to understand other people. They empathize,  which is a lot more important than sympathizing. After all,  sympathy solves nothingbecause there is just emotion without proper knowledge or understanding. Empathy involves a vicarious understanding of the other’s situation. With this, you will care more and be able to empower yourself and the other. 

Sarah Silverman,  above,  is a great comedian and depressed, still taking Zoloft to keep her functioning properly. Unlike Gaga, who has a definite reason for her depression, most people are like Silverman,  who has no real traumatic event that caused her illness. And it is just that —an illness. Like diabetes or IBS. 

Clara Hughes is an Olympic hero, winning gold in both the winter and summer Olympics for Canada. This makes her one of the greatest athletes of all time. But Clara has battled with depression and still does.

When Clara came out of an otherwise padlocked and sealed closet, it was a major leap into understanding mental illness in Canada. 

It comes as no surprise to many that Sinead O’Connor was one of the pioneers of mental illness awareness way back in the previous millenium. For some reason,  it was premature and she was silenced. The media decided to focus at her outbursts as blasphemous. She had to almost kill herself,  or at least threaten to as a cry for help,  before anyone payed attention to her. And even then, they just called her unstable and continuing her blasphemy by becoming a minister herself. 

For me,  Sinead should have committed suicide by now. She obviously found a lot of love and support and used her golden voice to build up awareness through melancholy lullabies. She has become a legend in more ways than one. 

Can one of the ‘Mad Men’ be overcome by depression. Just ask Jon Hamm,  who has led the way in Hollywood. The above quote is true for many people I have come across. The truth is, you can’t help yourself alone. You need help. 

The lovely and talented Kerry Washington tells it well in the above quote,  which reminded me it’s time for a dental cleaning.  Clean your teeth, your body, your brain. But most of all,  clean your soul, the deciding factor on your happiness. 

I just love Dwayne Johnson. He is approachable, honest, polite, intelligent,  humble, and suffers from depression.  And yes, ladies, he is the sexiest man alive. He is also the highest paid actor of 2016. He is renowned worldwide. He is the Rock. And his input on the subject makes a big difference. 

Marilyn Monroe, Robin Williams, and Jim Morrison are 3 people, like millions of others, that didn’t get enough help and died. Let’s not mince words here. They died, as you will if you don’t get help. 

Talk to your doctor. Go to the clinic, even the emergency room if need be. You are NOT crazy. Like most people, you have an illness that your actions didn’t cause. You have a physical illness. Depression is as physical as cancer, diabetes, heart problems, etc. It is a disease — an illness.  It is a silent killer but, alas, it has come out of the closet. 

Montreal’s Mile Ex — The Pre-Burgeoning of an Overpriced Trendy Haven and the Pending Micro-Segregation that May Ensue 

#mileex  #trendy #condos 

Amidst the worn-down semi-dilapidated factories just south of Park Extension, east of Outremont,  north of Mile End,  and west of Little Italy, we find the minuscule area of town still unofficially referred to as Mile Ex. I give it a bit more area by including Jean-Talon street between Park Avenue and St. Laurent, which fits in perfectly with the posh condo-orgasmic feel of the place. Gary Carter Road,  facing Jarry Park is a nauseating newly-modernized street that scrapped down all decades-old mostly-vacant buildings to make way for drearily ununique condos. But other than on Gary Carter,  Mile Ex’s more populated area is something I’d love to visit as a tourist. It’s a part of Montreal’s unique character and what separates the city from the urban sprawl just north of it. There are businesses nobody knows and little dives you can have a drink at. 

This is Vogue magazine’s take on it. 

And here’s the trendy places to hang out in. 

I’ve always wanted to live in a loft. And this would have been perfect. A real 1960s style apartment next to a flour factory in the middle of the industrial park. For now, this steam punk part of Mile Ex is staying intact by its fingertips.  This illegal English sign  (signs in Quebec can’t be only in English) brings a tear to the eyes of a bleeding heart who is going to miss what he grew up with. Not that I grew up near an industrial park, but I was literally on the other side, the seamy side, of the tracks. 

This will be the future home of the Science Faculty of the University of Montreal. This will put the new student population officially in the town of Outremont, where other parts of the university are. But the area that will be affected by this will be Mile Ex and perhaps Park Extension or Little Italy. 

Getting away from a poor neighbourhood is only good if everyone in that neighbourhood profits from it. If not, it remains a ghetto or,  worse,  it causes sprawled segregation, where there exist pockets of poverty in most areas of the city surrounded by trendy, rich, and posh areas. If this condo fad moves north, Park Extension will be affected by it. And what will the citizenry do? It’ll be further separated and its opinions will become almost worthless. Its ballot box privilege will be nullified due to their eventually being a small minority of working class people amongst a sea of higher earners. 

Here on the corner of Beaubien and Park, the proof is in the pudding. 

I love trendy and classic and posh and all the rest of it.  But not at the cost and toil of others. 

All this to say that we need to keep our Park Extension borders intact. 

Ios, Greece — A Hedonist’s Santorini  

#Ios #hedonism #party #greek-islands 

After having overstayed in Santorini,  it was a relief to be stopping off in Ios for some brain cell relaxation. It was awkward for my buddy and I in Santorini,  where we stuck out like 2 swollen thumbs being 2 single guys amidst crowds of mostly – young couples. It had been beautiful. We had taken pics from all over the island traveling with the scooters we’d rented. It had been classy and clean. A bit overdone and too touristy. 

I got off at the small port. My  friend had continued on to Athens. Ios is a miniature, very miniature,  and less stressful version of Santorini.  I knew to speak Greek to one of those girls with a sign saying  “ROOMS TO LET ” or “ZIMMER FREI”. You also need to make sure she has a trusting face. She’d have to look wholesome,  an island native preferably. There’s nothing that can ruin a trip more than subpar lodging. Ios gives you no time to complain and you really need to just ask the location,  bed size, and price.  I picked the right girl. One that looked traditional and a native of the island. She tried looking me in the eye and gave me a good price for a room at Mylopotas, which is a nice quiet part of Ios where the beach is there to enjoy for the day.  I always like staying away from the chaos. In this case, it was about 5 minutes on the scooter away. 

The room was in front of the beach above. 

There are amazing little places belonging mostly to hotels that you can hang out at by renting a chair and /or buying a drink. This is one of the most relaxing places by day. Bar none. 

Another good thing about Ios is how easy it is to meet new people almost instantly. It seems people are all looking for the same thing. In general, it’s relax by day and party all night,  uninhibited.  And what happens in Ios stays in Ios. 

I decided to lounge on the chairs above and asked the girl serving me where a lot of people go during the day. She mentioned this beach,  Kolitsani beach,  and renting a scooter to go up the steep mostly-sand-covered hill. I decided to do all three. 

The beaches on the island near the main town  (almost always called Chora on each island) were pretty barren till after noon due to the hedonistic partying that took place every night.  I had a ridiculously cheaply-priced good-quality lunch and rented a scooter. I went to Kolitsani,  a nude beach. There were a couple dozen people here and I decided to enjoy this from a veranda overlooking the calm waters. 

I needed to relieve myself from the heat so I went for a dip. There were so many nooks and crannies that hid half the population of the beach. Uninhibited havens,  I’m sure. What I loved the most about the whole day so far was the almost dead calm of the island. Even Chora was quiet when I went souvenir shopping. 

The island has no real tourist attractions. Everything you may find interesting is bigger and better on a neighbouring island.  Except the nightlife. 

I took a 2-hour siesta and woke up hungry. I went to a nice taverna and had some delicious fish. Again, cheap. Then off I went up the hill from Mylopotas to Chora. It was still early. I met the girl serving me coffee in the morning along with a few more people. She was from Belfast. I’d never met anyone from Belfast before. The British clan showed me the hotspots. I don’t drink, but they started to. Heavily. Especially the guys. It was club after club after club. People started losing each other slowly but surely. But you eventually fall in with another group.  And so on,  till about 6 in the morning. I decided my limit would be 2 o’clock. I managed to have a Swiss girl of Italian descent come back to Mylopotas with me. 

We saw 2 groups of Swiss having a fight with each other.It seems German and Italian Swiss hate one another. Giovanna knew all about this and told me to press on the gas so that she doesn’t get seen by either group of clowns, as she put it. 

There were people drunk on the street. Others were cuddling. Others dancing. We saw the town postman treating his friends. Giovanna told me he hardly delivered any letters. 

Three days and nights were enough. People appearing and disappearing without making  appointments made the stay seem longer and it was certain more fun and stress-free. 

If you’re looking for a place with no tourist attractions but with great beaches and nightlife, then Ios is certainly for you. But only if you’re open-minded. 

Happy Orthodox Christian Easter 

#Easter #Orthodox 

Every four years,  Easter falls on the same day for all Christians; which makes this post a bit less special. Unlike other Christian religions,  Easter is the most important holiday on the calendar for Orthodox Christians. And the setup for it lasts 40 days, or what is called Lent. The more devout fast for the entire period. The fast is veganism,  with the exception of fish. Not only is it allowed, it is encouraged. 

Above is a tree trimmed like an Easter egg in Moscow. Eggs are everywhere. Coloured eggs are part of tradition. 

These eggs from Serbia represent tradition,  culture,  and religion. Serbs take their eggs to church on Good Friday and the priest “blesses” them. They then get eaten on Easter. 

 

Greece has many traditions. Fireworks is among them. In Kalamata, the Saitopolemos exists where participants hold pipes and have the fireworks come out of them while they are holding them. This is said to represent the 1821 victory and freedom over the Ottoman empire. The sound of the fireworks popping made the horses scared and start stampeding,  allowing the Greeks to win. True or not, this is a very dangerous activity. 

What a way to end the Holy Week. Even heads of state are seen rejoicing. 

While the egg is big at Easter, the egg on top of the Easter pita  (pie) is kept in the house all year round in some Orthodox countries. 

Happy Easter to one and all.