Friday, May 29, 2009

Solar Powered

I’ve come to the realization that I'm solar powered.  If it is a bright and sunny day, I am up and ready to go.  I am productive and get everything done.  I literally jump up and down with glee.  I even want to go for a run!  Doesn’t matter what I am doing, as long as it is sunny and I get to spend some time in the glorious rays.  Give me a book and some sunshine and I am content for the whole day.  Sunshine nourishes my soul like nothin’ else.

If it is cloudy or rainy, forget it.  I can’t get myself out of bed.  

I know we need rain or there won’t be rainbows, and April showers bring May flowers, but I still just want to pull the covers over my head.

Anyone else out there the same? Please help me.  What do you do to motivate yourself on cloudy days?  

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What's Your Superpower?

My best friend, Julia, complains on occasion about her body.  She’s had three babies via C-section in the last 4 years and breast-fed them all.  The youngest is now six weeks old.

For a few weeks now, I have been asking her to write a paragraph or two about her views on body image.  As you can imagine, writing something for my blog is not high on her list of priorities.  So, I’ve listened to what she’s said and attempted to recreate her voice and view.  (Yes, she has given me permission to write about her.  Don’t worry- I won’t publish any private conversations that I may have with you.)

Creating and carrying life for nine months is nothing short of a miracle.  Then, being able to nourish that baby from your own breasts- that is also a beautiful and distinctly female gift that should not be undervalued.  But, we all know how much our culture values ‘perfection,’ thinness, and appearance.  And if you live in this appearance-obsessed world, no matter how much you value your ability to create and sustain life, loving your post-body baby can still be a challenge.  No one is excited about stretched-out stomach skin, saggy breasts, and the addition of spider and varicose veins.  

Julia said she saw a bumper sticker once that made her feel better.  She now reminds herself of this bumper sticker when she starts feeling bad about her body.  There on the back of a car was her new mantra: “I make milk, what’s your superpower?”

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A New Outfit, A New Outlook

I made a new friend last week. We met at a Ladies Who Launch networking event. Okay, we actually didn’t meet at the event, but she found me on Facebook afterwards and we connected there. I can already tell that I am going to like her a lot. We’re planning to get dressed up and meet for drinks (coffee, tea, or something a bit more sassy) at a swank hotel.

She wrote a post on her blog about the importance of a new outfit on one’s outlook. You can read it here: This Woman’s Daily Wear.

This got me to thinking (which by the way is a statement that always makes my husband nervous). In my last post I wrote about nourishing rituals. Most, but not all, of the rituals I listed were nourishing to your spirit. But dressing up and feeling good about your outside is important too. Not more important than taking care of the inside, but important none-the-less. Over the years I’ve learned that even if I stay at home all day, I am more productive if I get out of my loungewear and get dressed. I’ve also learned that I feel better about myself if I conceal any pimples. (Other make-up is not needed, but concealer is key.)

I heard of a college professor who made his students dress up on test day because he found they scored higher that way. I’ve also read that even if you have a phone interview, you should put on your interview suit because you will feel more confident and that confidence will be transmitted over the wires.

How we look on the outside can be reflective of how we feel on the inside. I am not suggesting that you need to always look your best or be overly concerned about outward appearance. But self-care is important. I would even go so far as to say that applying mascara and coordinating an accessory or two can be nourishing to your spirit. It can be a statement to yourself that you are important. It doesn’t have to be a new outfit that gives you a new outlook. Just taking the time to care for yourself will do it. If you feel a bit more perky because you’re looking better, what could be wrong with that?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nourishing Rituals

What do you do everyday without fail?  Brush your teeth?  Wash your face?  Check your email?  Drink a cup of coffee?  These are things that many of us do without thought and without question.  No matter how busy our lives became, we would still do them.  Personally, I would never go to bed without washing my face and applying pimple cream.  Never ever ever.  (If you’ve had chronic acne, I know you understand.)  And I can’t sleep without reading a few pages of my latest library find.  Reading is my sleeping pill and has become a nourishing ritual for me.  

What is a nourishing ritual, you ask?  Well, think of it as hygiene for your soul.  Most religions understand the importance of ritual as a way to get connected with your spirit.  They can also help to manage stress and add balance to your life.  

Here are a few of my favorite nourishing rituals:  sipping hot tea in the evening, writing down my happiest moment of the day in my bedside journal, getting a kiss from my husband before he leaves for work in the morning, buying $3.99 sweetheart roses at Trader Joe's each week, and doing something creative and crafty.

If you aren’t feeling nurtured and centered, consider adding a nourishing ritual or two to your routine.   They can be done weekly or daily, can take less than a few minutes, and can have significant soul soothing effects.  If you want to create the life of your dreams, you need nourishing rituals.  They help you bloom.  

Try these nourishing rituals on for size: taking a warm bath, meditating or praying, journaling, sending letters to friends, knitting, doing self-care activities like painting your toenails, getting a massage,  practicing yoga or tai chi, sewing, cooking, going for a walk, taking photographs, creating or listening to music, spending time in nature, or bonding with your pet.  

What nourishing rituals do you practice?  Please share your ideas with our community so we can all learn from each other.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tattoos and spiritual lessons

I am a planner.  Sometimes this is a good thing.  I am always prepared.  Sometimes it isn't.  I'm less able to enjoy life as it unfolds because I'm worrying about the next moment.  For several years now, I have been working on being more present and trying not to get too far ahead of myself.  After all, we are supposed to enjoy the journey, right?  

So, I decided to get a tattoo.  I thought about it for 8 years or so- this was not a rushed decision.  At first I drew a tiny little gift on my wrist.  This was to symbolize the precious present.  The idea was that whenever I saw it, I would take a few deep breaths and just be in that moment.  I drew it on for a long time to make sure I wouldn't get tired of it.  One time, when I was visiting my friend, Dena, she asked what I had drawn on my wrist.  I explained it to her.  I think she really liked the idea.  

Dena had malignant melanoma.  While all of our futures are uncertain, she really understood that the present moment is all anyone is ever guaranteed. 

This November I finally decided to go for it.  I had talked about it for enough years.  I thought about getting the little gift, or the words "this moment" put on my wrist.  My husband said I should stick to something basic as the words could bleed over time and when I was 80 it might look like a big blob.  I settled on a star.  
I thought about Dena when I got it.  I know she was looking down on me from heaven and would be proud of me for going for it.  (Dena died 5 days after her 30 birthday. )

My idea worked.  I do take a moment when I see my little star.  It has been a spiritual practice for me.  Plus, I feel a bit more bad ass.  (If you know me you are laughing out loud right now. Bad ass I am not and never will be.)  While I don't suggest that everyone gets a tattoo, you could do the same thing with a bracelet or ring.  Set an intention and connect it to something you wear everyday.  (Or buy yourself something new just for the occasion!)  When you see your special object, take a moment to remind yourself of your intention. 

This blog post is dedicated to celebrating the life and spirit of Dena Rose Brown.  
Please be safe and wear sunscreen.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

With a Little Help From My Friends

There is a proverb that states a shared joy is a double joy and a shared sorrow is half a sorrow.

I experienced the truth of that saying in the past few weeks.  Because I “went public” on my blog with my pregnancy story and loss, my sorrow has decreased.  Friends and family have been emailing, calling, sending cards (and cookies!), and leaving comments on the blog.  In the midst of this sorrow, I also feel so loved.   And lucky to have such a wonderful network of support!

Another bonus of going public is that I haven’t had to pretend to be happy.  Everyone knows what I am going through so they don’t expect me to be my usual cheerful self.

Today, an acquaintance told me she read my blog and thought I was “so brave” for sharing.  And for a while I questioned myself:  “Is it okay that I am sharing this personal story on my blog?”  I don’t think I am brave, I think I am just being myself.  And myself happens to be open.  As long as I am authentic and my words come from my heart, I’m okay with it.

I’m sending love and gratitude through the internet to you all.  I’m feeling better physically and emotionally and I’m looking forward.  I now know I can get through anything with a little help from my friends.  (And of course, family too!)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Story Still Being Written

When I wrote the last blog post, I thought the story of my first pregnancy had ended. I was ready to move on and look forward. However, I found out yesterday that the story is not over. And, I feel I owe it to my readers to provide an update. I’ve received many emails asking if I am okay and asking how the ultrasound went yesterday. Your kind words have nourished me. You were with me on the first part of this journey, so I want to also include you now.

The ultrasound revealed I did not miscarry. As of yesterday, I was six weeks pregnant. It was not good news as the baby is not in my uterus, but in my fallopian tube. Ectopic pregnancy, as it is called, is a very dangerous condition that occurs in less than 2% of pregnancies. The Ob told me and my husband it is the main cause of maternal death in pregnancy. The baby grows very rapidly in early weeks and the fallopian tube is tiny. It is not made to expand and therefore can burst and cause hemorrhaging and possible death to the mother. I did not have any of the risk factors for ectopic pregnancy, so it is a mystery as to why this happened. We spent several hours yesterday in the ER, where they gave me a drug that will stop the development of the fetus. When they gave me the shot, I knew it was ending my first pregnancy. There was no choice; the baby cannot continue to grow without killing me in the process. Even so, I felt sad about it. I am thankful that they were unable to hear the heartbeat. That would have been even more painful.

I have to continue to get blood tests to make sure the medication worked and the pregnancy is not progressing. If it continues to progress, we can try another shot or I will need surgery to remove the fetus. Surgery can damage the fallopian tube and decrease my future fertility.

I’ve been searching for meaning in this challenge, and so far I have come up with a small list:
  1. My husband and I have grown even closer dealing with this.
  2. I have been surrounded by love and positive energy from friends and family.
  3. I know if I finally get to have a baby, it will be worth the wait.
  4. I am growing and adding depth to my character because of this situation. This situation will help me to bloom into my best self.
  5. I have realized my vulnerability is also what makes me powerful.
On Tuesday, a consoling friend shared this beautiful quote with me: "Women’s tears are a river that carry them to their dreams." If this is true, I am well on my way.

If you are a mother who has been blessed with children, look at them today and be grateful. If you are yet to be a mother and are having difficulty becoming one, know that you are not alone.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A New Day

The last few blog posts have been about hope, serendipity, and finding meaning in life’s challenges.  They have been deeply personal.  I wrote from the heart and right or wrong, that was where I was at the time.  I have had some doubts about sharing my inner thoughts and vulnerabilities with the world.  But, in the last few days I have also been lifted by the kind words of people who found my blog posts.  They let me know I was not alone.  Some of them had similar experiences.  I felt closer to them all.  It seems to me, the more guarded we all are, the less connection we have with each other.  

Although, perhaps I need to guard myself more.  

Either way, I don’t want this blog to be just about me and my experiences.  I want it to be about women lifting each other up.  Women coming together in a community to nourish themselves, create the life of their dreams, and bloom into their best selves.  

So, it’s a new day here at Nourish. Create. Bloom.  We’re moving forward and taking these past few days of experience with us; to help us grow as individuals and also to help us grow closer together as a community.  We’re learning from our own experiences and those of others.  It’s hard to nourish, create, or bloom in isolation- and not nearly as fun.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

This Morning's Message from the Great Beyond

I awoke this morning to a beep from my cell phone.  My friend, Amber asked me through text to check today’s forecast.  We had plans to attend an outside event, but she didn’t want to make the hour-long drive if rain was forecasted for the whole day.  While on, I clicked on link about how long it takes different pieces of trash to decompose.  The article was cited as being from Divine Caroline.  I was not familiar with that site, so I followed the link.  I came to a personal story written by Christie Pettit entitled, “Thank God I’m Not in Control.”  Pettit eloquently discussed how she went through several painful months of infertility.  In the end, she ended up with a beautiful daughter and can now see how the actual timing of her baby’s birth was much better than what she had originally planned.

Yesterday I posted that I was impatiently waiting for my turn to be a mama.  I asked for stories from friends that reinforced how life events often turn out better than what we originally planned or hoped for.  Today this befitting story greeted me as soon as I got out of bed.  I am so grateful the Universe is giving me these Divine signs during my moments of doubt and frustration.  Keep ‘em coming, Universe!  The affirmations you are sending my way bring me some peace of mind.  

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Waiting for a Miracle (but short on patience)

If you read my last blog post, you know I’m waiting for a miracle. I have a second ultrasound next Wednesday to determine for good whether I already miscarried or if despite all odds, the pregnancy is progressing. Each day I lose a bit of hope. It may seem like losing hope is a bad thing, but I am starting to think it might be okay.

Buddhists believe that attachment is the source of all suffering. I’ve been clinging to my hopes despite all evidence and a sinking gut feeling that this baby is gone. I am now working on surrendering and accepting what is. I’m trying not to cling so hard to my desires and my timeline.

It is such a challenge to let go and accept that no matter how much I wanted this baby and no matter how many years I dreamt of being a mother, now is not my time. Clearly, the Universe has another path for me right now. I have countless past examples of how situations worked out for the better when I didn’t get what I wanted or when I wanted it. Yet it’s so easy to say that on the other side of things, after I knew they worked out. This side of things is a challenge. Waiting is rough, even with the messages I’ve received from the Great Beyond (see last week’s posts).

The lesson of patience keeps showing up in my life. I admit, I still have not incorporated this virtue, despite countless opportunities. I am making progress, but I have a long way to go. I’ve got patience in the post office line, patience waiting for the subway train, and patience with my clients, but patience with the one thing I want more than anything in the world? Forget it. I wanted it months ago.


Please send me your thoughts on patience. What experiences, quotes, or insights do you have to offer to those of us who are not-so-patiently waiting? I would love to hear stories about how waiting turned out to be for the best. It will give me something to read while I’m here in the waiting room.