Monday, January 30, 2012

Too Much Knocking

I recently came across this quote and it smacked me in the face:

Many of us knock on the door but remain outside, because knocking and entering are entirely different actions.  Knocking is necessary, consisting of reading books, attending meetings, asking questions.  But entrance requires much bolder action.  It requires one to enter into himself, to uncover hidden motives, to see contradictions, and to realize the actual power for self-change.  -Vernon Howard

In regards to a certain dream of mine- writing and publishing a book- I've been knocking for quite a while now.   The above quote made me uncomfortable because I was made aware of my status- firmly planted on the welcome mat in front of a closed door.  I'm not sure what is stopping me (fear of failure probably), but I've decided the knocking stops here.  I'm taking a bold action towards entering: I'm going public, dear reader, and I'm letting you in on my secret.  I'm hoping your words of affirmation and the forced accountability that going public provides will have me soon crossing the threshold.

Here's the scoop:
All during my journey to motherhood, I was journaling.  Through the months trying to conceive, the etopic pregnancy and loss, the unsuccessful IVF, and then our adoption, I wrote to the baby girl that I knew would one day be ours.  I filled one journal and started another. While a few steps along the journey were posted on this blog, the most raw and private details stayed hidden in my notebooks.  I never posted anything about the esoteric ways I tried to increase my fertility, the challenging and sometimes insulting adoption process, or the sadness that occasionally still stabs at my heart when I see a pregnant woman.  My daughter will inherit the journals when she is mature enough to read them.  They are a testament to my deep desire to be a mother, my longing for her to come to us, the inner struggles one has when "choosing a baby" through adoption, and the challenge infertility and adoption place on a couple.  They are a heart-felt written record of all we endured to become parents.

During my journey, I did a lot of reading.  The most healing books for me were the memoirs of women who went before me.  I related to those women in a way that I didn't relate to anyone else.  Especially because so many people keep their baby struggles private.  To someone going through the journey, it seems as if everyone got, is, or can get pregnant without issues.  I believe publishing the journals would be healing for other women.  I believe this so strongly, I've asked my extremely private husband for his consent.  For our pain to help others, for our story to impart hope, well, that would make it all worthwhile.  Almost.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Authenticity with Alex

The journey for authenticity is a rich one because in a way you're never not you, and in a way, you can live your whole life without being who you are.  The question is- can your mind and actions be aligned with your deeper self?  When doing movement, the way to practice that is to notice when you're coming from you, your interests, passions, curiosity, and when you are copying, judging, comparing, channeling, and trying to be like another.  It's a fine line and a rewarding one to learn.
                                                                                                                      -Alex Iglecia

Isn't that an incredible quote?  I confess- I had to read it a few times before its fullness sank in.

I've been fortunate to have many inspiring teachers in my life, and Alex Iglecia is one of them.  I even trudged across Boston on dark and cold winter nights to attend his meditation class.  Alex is super intelligent, deep, and intense and I'm pretty sure I don't always get the full gist of what he says.  But I dig that he's frequently discussing authenticity, integrity, and how to continue evolving.

During a recent online conversation, I told him I'm choosing to view parenting as a spiritual practice. So far it's been a great lesson in mindfulness.  He responded with an enlightening answer, as always, "So is childing... it's certainly shift-worthy."  And that, my dear readers, I do get.  

I'm in the middle of reading Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting by Myla and Jon Kabot-Zinn.  While I haven't finished it yet, I've already recommend it to several friends.  It's been healing for my "childing" and hopefully will make me more conscious at parenting.    

Monday, January 16, 2012

Proud to Be Colorful

Our little family is proud to be colorful.

As we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I feel overwhelmed with gratitude to those who stood (and continue to stand) for equality.  Many risked their lives and some were murdered for their beliefs.  It wasn't long ago, and it happened in our country of freedom.  The actions and sacrifices of those brave activists have enabled our family to live MLK's dream.

Personally, I think we'll know our country has overcome it's race issues when the mall Santa isn't always white and no one thinks it's a big deal.  I hope that happens in my lifetime.

PS:  For information on how to talk to your children about race, I recommend Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman.  Chapter 3, Why White Parents Don't Talk About Race, is fascinating and may be surprising to many parents.
PPS:  Thanks to my baby girl for lending me her dolls for this photo.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Feeling Grateful

I don't know if you are like me, but I find if I'm not mindful, it's way too easy to focus on the negative.  Our consumer-oriented culture continually reminds us of what we don't have.  But the antidote only takes a minute: I list what I am thankful for.  And just like that, my world is a happier, brighter, and more positive place.

Here are a few things I'm feeling thankful for today:
1.  Hubby has off for 24 straight hours!
2.  During his precious time off he woke up with Baby Girl so I could sleep in, solved my new phone issue, and made my gmail more secure.
3.  Baby Girl is taking a long nap so I can write this post.
4.  It's sunny outside.
5.  Reem had a healthy baby GIRL!
6.  Lisa arrived home safely.  (She was driving cross-country and made a 3-day pit stop in Dallas.)
7.  I'm writing again.
8.  We have enough.  More than enough.
9.  We are healthy.
10. We have each other.

What are you feeling thankful for today?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Winter Sparkle

Well, it's a new year and I'm feeling motivated to write again.  Maybe it's because I'm sleeping better (Baby Girl is now sometimes sleeping through the night) or maybe it's because of all your wonderful comments.  Thank you dear readers for your kind words- blog comments add sparkle to my day.

Since your words encouraged me to take steps towards one of my life goals (writing and publishing a book), I'm sending them back your way with the following quote:

When we are motivated by goals that have deeper meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing- then we truly live life.  -Greg Anderson

So here's to love expressed, meaningful goals, and big dreams.  And making someone's day a little sparklier.

PS:  I've been so inspired, I changed the look of the blog.  What do you think?  It took me much longer to figure out than I care to admit, but I finally got my own artwork up there in the banner.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Baby Steps to Big Changes

    Last week I witnessed an incredible event. My baby girl took her first-ever unassisted steps. The next morning, two Today Show guests- both had lost half of their body weight during 2011- encouraged others by saying, "Take baby steps." 

    And once again, I was humbled to realize that I am learning as much about life from my one-year-old as she is learning from me.

    As a dietitian and health coach, I have told many clients over the years to take small steps to achieve their goals.  But having witnessed Baby Girl's breakthrough the night before, it dawned on me that there was much more to this suggestion than merely the size of the steps.  

    So whatever your goals are for 2012, here is some advice from Baby Girl on how to reach your next milestone:
    • Prepare. First we did tummy time. She hated it and cried a lot but we did it anyway. Then she learned to roll over. Then stand, crawl, and walk with a walker.
    • Celebrate successes along the way.  She squealed with joy when using her walker for the first time and would shake her bootie when learning to climb.  She reveled in her progress and had fun along the way.
    • Find support. She held our hands, the couch, and the walker, before she could go solo.  At each milestone (and in between) I cheered for her.  I clapped and encouraged.  As my girl Oprah says, find people who are going to lift you higher.   
    • Set reasonable expectations. Baby Girl wasn't trying to win a race, she was just trying to go two feet to reach Auntie Lisa.  
    • Keep looking forward. Learn from the past, but look ahead of you.  And keep your eyes off the floor.
    • Expect falls.  Focus on progress, not perfection. Learn from your slips.  Cry if you need to but then get up and try again.
    • Don't worry if you aren't perfect.  It's okay to be wobbly.  It's okay to put your hands in front of you and walk like a mummy. It's okay to revert to crawling on occasion.
    • Have faith in the process and faith in yourself.  Many have come before you and succeeded and many will follow.  You too can do it.
    • And finally, let go of the coffee table and just go for it!