Archives for category: move it

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

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It is a beautiful, sunny day in Montreal. We are surrounded by the sound of happy people being Spring-like in their actions. The pigeons are dancing.

I must be part monkey.  Or perhaps I am still in touch with my inner child, or maybe I am in touch with my inner monkey child.  Just like a kid, when I need to get something done, I turn it into a game.

My latest way to motivate myself is inspired by life coach Gail Blanke.  She has written a book called, “Throw Out Fifty Things.”  Well, I have been throwing out, giving away or recycling 50 things a day for the last few days.  And I have to say, since it is a game, it is very easy to do.  I am not as attached to things, I am able to let go.  My rules are that it does not matter what it is, as long as I get rid of 50 things, I am still in the game.

It started with the bathroom.  Old, never-going-to-use-again products, hair clips that seem to never make sense for me, samples for products that – when I read the ingredient list – makes me cringe…etc.  Done!

Next… kitchen… a couple old corks (compost), and old elastics; all-that-is-left-is-the-wire twist ties and old preserves past their prime that I have not touched for over a year.  Ding!

After that, the office: some receipts, notes, papers; all is shredded and recycled.

And after that, the front entry: some old, I-am-sure-I-will-never-use-this glasses cases, a pair of sunglasses, some bags… not to 50 yet. Ummm, what’s in the closet?  Some clothes I never seem to use…. AND, done!

I am not playing by Gail’s rules.  She has a really cool game going on and I like her motivational talks!  Truly!  For my rules, I count a thing as a thing. She counts a magazine collection as a thing.  I like to count every magazine.  I don’t care if it is a broken elastic, a lost little reject staple or an old never used and disgusting electric toothbrush or a perfectly good vase that I can subtract from my seemingly redundant collection of vases that I rarely use.  My goal is to assign 20 minutes a day to finding 50 things to give away, recycle or throw away. I will do this until I am feeling free and relaxed in my space.

Some people go their whole lives collecting beyond their means. I know this without ever having watched “Hoarders.”  Life has afforded me this observation in real-time.

What got me started on this?  I visited my friend’s place a couple weeks ago and I noticed that they had done a complete overhaul.  They had done this because they were leaving to travel for a couple months.  They wanted their place all neat and tidy for whoever was going to apartment sit for them.  They have been back for a year and the place still looks amazing.  As soon as I saw this, I knew I had to do something.  I needed to create a game that helped me get the job done, hahaha.

Another thing that motivated me was hearing a story of a family that had a proper livingroom for hosting guests, but beyond this, the place was a mess.  The family had this symbolic mess as well as an actual, serious mess beyond the view of guests.  Hearing this made me wonder about what the stuff we hold onto really symbolizes.

Yeah, if I keep going with this, I could end up like a person who only owns 50 things.  That notion seems surprisingly liberating… but I also have to laugh because many of the things this guy owns are major brand things.  Not attached, but still very “plugged-in.”  Cute.

So, I picked 50.  Perhaps you are ahead of the game and in so many ways, including a very catchy tune, 12 would be more suitable for you.  If you want to feel a little lighter, try throwing out (recycling or giving away) a few things.  And don’t turn it into a task, make it a game.

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal.

Christmas is quickly approaching and I am in a bit of a funk. I guess this is what happens when you put together the following:

  • I enjoy making traditional foods to mark the holidays,
  • I lost 25 pounds this year by maintaining a somewhat consistent effort in modifying my diet and adding a good dose of exercise (Yes, I did!),
  • I have witnessed clients and friends also lose a lot of weight this year by doing the same thing,
  • and I also have watched others receive diagnoses for illnesses related to diet and lifestyle; namely, Type II Diabetes.

Yeah, she is totally over-thinking this one. Go back to sleep Rosebud!

You might suppose that I am over-thinking the whole thing. I can hear a voice say, “… but it is only a few days… you can easily work that off in a matter of weeks… you are so good most of the time!” Well, I hate to admit it, but the holiday eating usually lasts for more than a few days. Getting back into shape is not always an easy thing. I keep in mind that I am a habitual person; if I become accustomed to eating sugar everyday, then it is really difficult to make the change back to not having a daily dose of sweets. This is not just me. Overall, the traditional holiday eating has simply become too much. It can become sugar overkill once I add up my family’s special treats, my partner’s and friend’s special treats, and so forth. And really, this does not do anyone any good.

In some ways, however, I might not have the same problem this year. First of all, I am now running a business. My business really keeps me occupied, and so I don’t have the same amount of time to think about creative culinary pursuits. Bye, bye Martha-Stewart-me!  As well, I have seriously started to crave daily exercise.  Most days when I think, “Oooo, I should start baking!”  I have to run off to a dance class. All of a sudden that baking is not as important to me.  Oh yeah, perspectives change in the process of running, jumping and moving about. Being fit quickly becomes very important to me because I simply want to enjoy growing further in doing what I love to do.  Since this year’s Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are on the weekend, I also think it will be a shorter celebration that will not last for days and days.

One thing that helps me feel alright about dropping some of the supposedly necessary, but not very healthy traditions is to remember that it is the people that keep traditions alive.  We all share the power to make this year happen in so many different ways.  We can make our traditions something that is beneficial to ourselves and to our loved ones. I think realizing this truth has been hard work for me this year. I have never faced all of this with such honesty! Wow! I know professionally what my clients need to hear when they face certain health problems, and I know how to put together 12 kinds of cookies and squares for the holidays. But I am finally letting each of these types of knowledge come face to face. Viola: the funk!

So, back to the drawing board I go!  My friend Chitra says, “don’t bake anything this year!”  I am not sure I am ready to do this, but I am ready to do the following:

  • Seriously scale back on the sweets and sweet drinks. Instead of many different kinds of cookies, I have narrowed it down to two: gluten-free peppernuts (I will share the recipe with you tomorrow) and chocolate shortbread cookies. I might also do Christmas Rocky Road… but that is it! I can hear some of you say, “But what about regular shortbread, and butter tarts, and Christmas cake, and peanut brittle, and nanaimo bars, and sugar cookies, and almond crescents, and truffles, and gingerbread, and fudge, and peppermint cookies, and, and…” Well, I just can’t do that. Not this year.
  • Allow myself to move beyond tradition and create what I know are totally healthy, digestible and guilt-free meals with fish, vegetables, meats, nuts and fresh fruit. Making a plan that doesn’t cause worry is like a new way to relax.
  • Focus on making gifts for loved ones that are not food related: a homemade hand cream, a tea, a knit scarf, and so on. I have lots of ideas.
  • Share time with friends and family that involves more MOVE and less FOOD. We will go play outside. What?  Yes, it’s cold outside! We can wear layers, my friends. Bundle up and expand on tradition!

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal.

Fleurbain is under construction. Fleurbain is moving… moving in, setting up shop, shifting around, clarifying, distilling, and experimenting to compound our knowledge and expertise.

Fleurbain is no longer only a dream and a website… Fleurbain is a site.

We will have a grand ouverture and vernissage soon (probably in early November), but in the meantime we will have small open-houses, host workshops, and meet with our clientelle in the realms of herbalism and art. In coming weeks we will announce regular opening hours, but for now we are available by appointment.

Tammy Schmidt, Clinical Herbal Therapist, is available for appointments through tammy.schmidt.herbalist (at) gmail.com and Natasha Henderson Artist and felt-making crafty Workshop Instructor is available through nhen@videotron.ca. We can both be reached through fleurbain@gmail.com!

See you soon, Montreal!

Tammy Schmidt and Natasha Henderson, Montreal

I just walked past the 21 Balançoires at the Quartier des Spectacles in Montreal.  I have to say, it is something that made me smile and enjoy the brief moment of nice weather this afternoon.  It seems to have this effect on many people who try them out.  It is the random music, it is getting on a swing, swinging next to people you don’t know, making a small connection.  It is a bit of fun in our urban setting.  All of a sudden you are laughing and making jokes about bathtubs and seeing things in a new light.  You are also getting lost in the music you help to create and wondering how does this work?

When I am at my African dances class lead by Claudine Malard, I sometimes think about how I am pretty static most of the time.  I am sitting at my desk, sitting on the metro, sitting as I read the news or read a book, sitting to watch a movie and sitting when I chat with friends.  It is almost like I became an adult and all of that fun in kicking it up, as kids do, went out the window in the name of responsibility and being mature.  My dance class is recreation and re-creation.  I unload my mind, I learn new moves, I laugh a bit and for sure, my day gets a whole lot better.  The same sort of thing happened at the swings today too.

So, if you have a chance, get out there and try those swings BEFORE May 23rd.  You will love it!

a brief glimpse of 21 balançoires

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

Hip hop street dancing, aka break dancing, in ...

not quite this style...

I just got back home after almost two hours of Hip-Hop Dance class. I’ve never really listened to Hip-Hop music, I’ve not paid much attention (outside of some sideline, “Oh, wow look at what that person just did, so bendy!”) to Hip-Hop Dance or Music videos, and I’ve not taken a Hip-Hop Dance class, ever, before this year.

A bit of a background: When I was five years old, my mother asked me if I’d like to take dance lessons. I said “yes”. Or, I assume I did, because I was soon enrolled in them. We did Tap. I took Tap Dancing for six or seven years after that. I also began Jazz Dance lessons from about age eight. When I was eleven years old, I stopped taking dance lessons. My feet had reached size 10, and, where I lived, low-heel tap-shoes were not available in a size above 9. I was not going to Tap Dance (let alone walk) in high heels when I was eleven years old. I didn’t get a pair of “heels” until I was in my twenties, for that matter.

So, I stopped dancing. I went out dancing from time to time in my late teens to early twenties, and jiggled around the dance floor a bit… but I always felt oversized and uncomfortable. When my bar-going friends mostly moved away, and I was a professional, busy working person, I stopped dancing altogether.

Last summer, I took a few African Dances classes. I liked it, I felt good after the classes, and they made me move. I still attend at least one of these classes every week. I am very comfortable with it now. I feel free and alive when I dance in that class. It is unlike Tap or Jazz Dance, but I do see some basic dance connections.

For fun, and with my friend’s encouragement, we took a Hip Hop Dance class one night this January. It was… a challenge. It was so different in structure and movement from dance I’ve done before. Despite all that, I found it to be fun!

Now I’ve been back to that class about four or five times, whenever my schedule allows. It is still a big challenge, and I do admit to feeling a little frustrated with that. However, I feel physically better after having done the class, and I recognise that the mental and physical challenges of extending my own comfort zones is a real benefit to me. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to take a range of different classes at my local YMCA. I didn’t have this opportunity as a child; who knows how different life would have been if I’d had a chance to dance wearing sneakers (Hip Hop) or barefoot (African Dances) !!!

It is never too late to start.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

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