Archives for posts with tag: brain chemistry

Still buzzing on the endorphins from last night – how is it that one person can have such an impact on one’s heart, one’s chemicals? Synapses working double time.

Bound out of bed and practise, practise, practise – the sun is back, so it is all about sun salutations, maybe that will encourage it to stick around?

Some occupants of the apartment are distinctly unmotivated, so the mountain hike is a no-go in the am. No worries, the mountain will be there after lunch and I now have some new plans.

Ring the local travel agent and touch base with him – not sure when I’m supposed to get panicky about the next part of the Adventure. I’m still sure it will come together, but I really should be getting over to Taipei…fingers crossed, ok?

Hunt for adapter is still on – try another store, nope. If anyone has an adapter with a ground that will adapt from North American to Korean, please send it my way! Thanks! I’ll send you some kimbop in thanks. Or you know, sweet red chili sauce.

I cave and grab a bottle of bubbles – probably sweet, but I’ll suffer. I know, I know, I have such a lovely, self-sacrificing nature.

We part ways after lunch and trying to shop and it is off to the mountain with me! People are out in their cars in full-force and doing the “ready for Spring” thing. I feel like I haven’t left home at all. Is this what globalization is about? Go anywhere in the worlds and feel like you haven’t left home?

Get to the mountain and this, this I can do, this I understand. Language doesn’t matter on the mountain, manners are exactly the same everywhere, as you pass someone, you smile, nod, maybe say “hello” in what ever language you speak. We are all the same on the mountain.

Discovery: most of the people going up the mountain, aren’t going all the way up! They are stopping part way at the exercise park and either sitting or using the free exercise equipment.

Seeing the equipment suggests that ParticipACTION initiative when I was a kid and they put stuff in some of the parks so you could come to the park and work on your fitness level. I’ve heard that the equipment is some unique South Korean thing, but we did it Canada too. Again, like I haven’t left home.

I slide on the ice and almost lose my footing, but get it back just in time.

Do you know that people in every culture make the same noise to say “oh noes! you are about to fall on your bum!” it’s true. This man was sitting watching and he made the “oh noes! you are about to fall on your bum!” sound as I slide. Got my footing back and – do you know that everyone makes the same noise for “nice save – you didn’t fall on your bum!”, they do!

The man and I look at each other and smile – he was pretty impressed with my ability to get my footing back. I’m Canadian – it is probably genetic.

Look around there a bit and decide – onwards and upwards!

Here the path is actually a path – so no street lamps playing the South Korean version of Muzak (which actually isn’t too bad) and the path is more “natural”, no not like a sidewalk.

I go up, up, up.

My start was later that anticipated and I stop and jot down some notes – there has been too much going on for me to write probably in the moleskin (thank you again to the people who gave this to me – you know who you are). So good to put pen to paper again – there is something wonderful about writing this way. I don’t even know how to describe.

Air smells of spring, dead leaves crunch under my boots, up, up, up.

As I’m resting and writing I realize, if I keep going it is going to be dark on my descent, again, no street lamps here.

Pack it in and save the summit for another day, now I know where it is, I’m going up, all the way to the top. 

People on mountains are so friendly – as I come up to people, they look like we all do, concentrating on their daily life and problems, making plans etc. I smile and say “Hello!” and get smiles and nods back.

I get this feeling that not a lot of people from outside South Korea hike up this mountain, I’m something of a curiosity. But not, like in a rude way, there are raised eyebrows and grins and nods – as if “Look at you! At last, someone who wants to climb our mountain!” So very comfortable on this mountain path.

Great day, great to get some elevation.


The body wants what it wants and will do as it will do. And, as the man says, “there is no doing anything about it…”

Today – the body wants to cheat. Wants a leg up. Wants to go deeper, go harder, push, push and push some more.

Slept late to 8am, light breakfast – needs out of my system by 11:30am, being safe = empty stomach by 11am. Slice of toast with serving of dairy and fish protein, glass of chocolate soy milk – still struggling with the increased protein thing – and iron pill. No tea, which kills me a little ‘cuz its Sunday, but what the body wants…

Gym at 11:05am, tummy empty and growling – missing morning snack! – and on the elliptical trainer for 15 minutes, enough to get the muscles warm, start to move the lactic acid out and remind the heart it has a job to do.

Sit for a short ten and breath – the body is ready.

Ten sun salutations to start at 11:30am – I think the yoga teacher saw my warm-up! – bit of cardio and now we all warm and ready to sink deeper.

Class – breathes are deep, diaphragm working perfectly, muscles releasing.

Cheating works – warm muscles make the body go deeper, go harder, push, push and push some more.

My poses today are the best they have ever been. My forearms release, my thighs release, the tension in the my shoulders release, my hips release, my fingers and toes release – all this tension the body has been holding, all the liquid from yesterday’s climb, it leaves, it works its way out of my body and my brain is defogging, the blinders are coming off.

End of class – applause! – great class, excellent instructor and the body is happy, worked hard and ready to relax in the sauna.

Best part of cheating – it doesn’t matter! No one cares – it is a-ok for me to get warm and push hard. I breathe through it all and no injury – this is what the body needs and what the body wants.

Feels great.

Met up with a dear friend after and told her something I’ve been thinking for a while –  yoga is changing my brain chemistry.

My serotonin levels are probably the best they have ever been, my concentration is better. My thoughts are more positive.

And I think it is stabilizing my insulin levels too and changing my taste buds – I’m not craving sweets as often.

I think – I’m becoming a happier person.

It makes me laugh – I want to be a happier person!

I was asked a few months ago about where I saw myself in five years. I answered that I saw myself as happy as I am now, raised to the power of 5.

My friend then asked if I thought this was possible, ‘cuz I’m actually quite a happy person, I told her yes, yes! I refuse to believe there is an upper limit to happiness, that the human heart can only contain so much happy before it breaks. I don’t believe that – the human heart and the amount of happiness it can contain is unlimited – I can hold a multiverse of happiness in my heart.

I feel like I’m well on my way to my goal. Thanks yoga!

That coconut cake I had earlier made me pretty happy too – thanks cake!




Plans to go the gym were replaced by plans to get a flu shot and shop for socks – I skipped last year’s buying schedule for socks, so I’m due. Flu shot plans were in turn replaced by plans to come home, find a sunbeam and curl up.

Tired about the edges, cold arms, legs, finger tips and toes. Warm socks and snuggly pjs are the remedy. My sleep toque too.

I’m not worn out, I don’t feel ill.

It is more…completely chilled, at peace, snoozy. I mean, if “snoozy” is a word…

Perfect sunbeam located, now to find someone to scratch my tummy as I stretch out. I wonder if there is a pan of warm lasagna I could eat and fall asleep in around here.

Oh! I purr.

Turned off the news and channeling some happy aural nostalgia. Leaving the fate of the free world in the hands of my neighbours to the south, I’m not even going to keep an eye out for history. History will be there when I wake.

Sometimes, you just gotta surf the theta waves.

Can’t figure out whether blame Thursday, change in air pressure or bad chemicals.

I wasn’t feeling particularly sensitive today – woke up, got out of bed in a Wednesday sort of mood, looking forward to climbing tonight and having a totally productive day, today, I would pwn Thursday. Cute black dress, sassy kitten shoes with pictures of little pink kittens on them – how could I be in a bad mood today?

Then this thing about people not answering the questions I’m asking started again.

Look, I try to use words that people will understand, smile so they know I’m not threatening and maintain a distance that respects their personal space, as set out by societal norms. Yes, it is a lot to keep in mind, but if you are going to be a part of society, you may as well play your part in human society as best you can, right?

So, listen to what I’m asking. Don’t bother answering a question that I asked half an hour ago – answer the question now. Don’t tell me what I’m asking you and look at me as if it is my fault that you aren’t understanding the question, I’m using plain, unadorned English, so listen and answer me.

And really, if you are feeling particularly sensitive kind of day, then better to give me the heads up right away, it goes like this:

“Good morning.  How are you today? Just so you know, I’m feeling sensitive and touchy today for reasons that I don’t want to get into. If there are any non urgent matters that you need me to deal with, would you mind leaving them for me for the next working day that we have? It would really help me. I’m going to close my door and sulk now, so see you at the end of the day.”

Please don’t bother saying you are sorry to me after being snippy at me – twice – and letting me deal with that the whole day. If you were up front about how you were feeling right away, then I would have waited.

This thing about obligations again – I resent having to deal with other people’s touchy moods at work.  They aren’t keeping up their obligation to come into work, ready and in an emotionally capable manner to concentrate on the tasks at hand. I’m ready to work and when I’m not, I will let you know. I’m there to work. I will work hard, work cheerful and give you the help you need and then I will go home. What I want in return is to work with people who are ready to work and who will not be overly touchy and insulting to me.

I don’t hold against someone when something horrible happens and they can’t deal with – I will never forget the day I found out my dog died and I went to work or the day my ex left me and I went into work. We all have days like this, sometimes we need to go work to be with people who feel connected to, we rely on them emotionally and I have no problem with that.

But, I don’t want to be anyone’s whipping post.

I will be your friend and listen to you and support you and try to make things better, but I will not put up with you being insulting to me.

And really, the hug doesn’t really mean a whole lot to me.

I have a limit.

What I learned today: Sometimes the only option is to walk away.

I seem to have found myself heading up a fun little project. I’m really excited about it and so far it has been a ton of fun – not a barrel of monkeys, but good, clean, wholesome fun. I really enjoy my team, although I sense that perhaps I’m a bit overwhelming at times and I love learning the new program and application too.

I’m not a great leader though. I mean, I don’t work well in a formal leadership role. I’m not sure why exactly, so I’ve decided to claim that it is a generational thing.

Plans for Sunday brunch with a good friend whom I haven’t seen in so very long. Nothing like a good brunch.

Except maybe a good midnight snack.

Rainy today, I’m thinking a hot bath and mud mask to re-texture.

You know, I don’t mind that people can hear me walking, I love the sound of heels going “click, click click” on the floor.

Sometimes the things that are most salient bubble up through the thoughts aft.

Playing music yesterday, post-book, could I feel my brain chemistry changing?  Could I feel those chemical going “pop, pop, sizzle” in my brain, between my neurons and synapses? Did they feel like dancing?  Did I want to raise my voice in song?


Yes. I did.

I don’t know if is possible, but playing music, it felt like…well, like the world is filled with possibilities.  And there I was, right in the middle.

Is this extasis?

The book made me feel ok about not liking the first “Lord of the Rings movie.  I commented to a friend about them once that there wasn’t enough music in it, in the book they are always singing and walking or singing and sitting around the fire or listening someone else sing etc.  She said to me that if they put all the songs in the movie would be a musical – “Exactly.”

Musicals sometimes have a bad rep, but I love them. Some people hate them ‘cuz “people don’t go around bursting out into song at every little thing”.

Of course they do!

I feel like I’ve made my life back into a musical.

Bring on the jazz hands!

In other news, a white Siberian tiger killed it’s owner, during feeding time.

I’m not sure what to think about this. Cougars are hunting down people in the wild and others are keeping tigers as pets.  I mean, sometimes my house cat was a little wild and aggressive when I fed her or kept her ball of yarn away from her or wanted to do something other than sit around and pet her.

They are wild animals, man, wild animals.

Is it possible to be too happy?

Many people I met tell me how nice I am or how pleasant or how cheerful or how much fun to talk to or how lovely my smile is or how they do see people smile like that all the time.

So, I wonder, I am too happy when I met people and talk to them?

I hope that we can be as happy as our hearts can take before they break.  I hope that no one limits our happiness or tells us that there is such a thing as being “too happy”.

The stupidest thing I did today was go outside with a colleague, without a coat, hat, scarf, mitts, fleece, in little silky top with short sleeves to show my colleague that I was having problems with a parking code.  It was about minus 10, but a wet minus ten.  We thought it might be the machine, so we went to another one, just to be sure.  It wasn’t the machines!  It was the code!

No worries, I think I’m almost thawed.

Home late tonight, I’ve been learning things.  A little knowledge is a dangerous thing and it can make you late for dinner too.

I am in love with this book.

When I grow up I am going to marry this book and have, like, ten thousand of it’s babies.

Finished it off today and I can’t even begin to express what a great read this was – for me – it had everything, total sensory experience, due to the music it invoked, quoted.  When certain songs were invoked or quoted it was impossible not to hear them in my brain.

Lovely writing.

I loved that the author got everything in – comments and observations about animal behaviours, human behaviours, evolution, brain chemistry, literary figures, certain songs, certain song writers (Joni Mitchel, Sting, Johnny Cash, Elvis, McCartney and Lennon etc. etc.), brain structure, types of love, Kurt Vonnegut.

The last was a bit of a surprise and sometimes I wonder if there aren’t secret languages and codes out there, I mean yes, Kurt Vonnegut had a lot to say about a lot of different things and the passage that is quoted in this book is one of my favourites from “Slapstick”, but I didn’t think people read and quoted Vonnegut as much as all that…it is like there some sort of intellectual shift, I’ve been hearing more and more about Vonnegut.

It is interesting and reveals my bias – someone says “Kurt Vonnegut” or when a writer writes “Kurt Vonnegut” or quotes from one of his works, there is something in me…dog-like…I sit up straighter, I feel my ears perk up and if I had a tail it would wag.

This is the moment that I most understand dogs welcoming their owners home.

I mean, before this part of the book, I thought “this author is really smart and has great taste in music” but after I read the part where he quotes Vonnegut I thought “This guy is a friend of mine.  We are so similar!  We even have friends in common!”, I started thinking about the author as Daniel, rather than as a really intelligent professor.  It made me think  about a conversation, an idea, piece of music, hanging out and having tea and something really tasty to eat.

I think this makes me kind of easy.  I mean say someone were to find out about this, they could just quote me something from Kurt Vonnegut and I would go all slobbery.

I guess some of us go weak over red roses and some of us go weak over Kurt Vonnegut.

This book also invoked a lot of buried memories – he talks about how people who have the name of a popular song often get people quoting the song at them…I did this to a young person I taught at summer camp, his name was Daniel and out of all the songs I could have quoted at him (“Daniel” or “Danny Boy” – also noted by the author) I would always say to him “Daniel, Daniel by the bonfire”.  He would quirk his head at me and ask why I say that to him, I told him about the song and said how it was one of my favourites.

He is grown man now and if ever this bugged the heck out of him, I am truly sorry.  But it is a really song, just think I could have tried singing “Danny Boy” at him!

So a big thank you to Kathleen, who found this book on her trip to the UK last fall, saw this book and thought of me – it was exactly what I needed.

Completing this book means that I have now finally completed my reading list for the week between Xmas and New Year’s Day.  Yay!

I’ve decided to keep up with regular reading this year and renew my library card – I could go broke buying books!

This book is a friend and I can’t wait to share it with someone I love.