You want me to eat What!?

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Anyone who knpearsows me reasonably well knows that I love the Autumn season.

For me, there is not a more meaningful season.   With its beautifully colorful foliage and crisply charged breezes that give way to winds of change, Autumn provides an enormous amount of opportunity for transition, reflection, and therefore, growth.  It only seems natural to welcome and encourage the instinct to reflect, cleanse and meditate, and mindfully move your body, all to nourish the spirit that you will be hunkering down with intimately when the snows fall.  I, for one, want a happy, humble and peaceful abode to reside within until the thaws reveal green, burgeoning buds.   How about you?

This year I have had divine privilege in releasing some hurtful and toxic habits, and this has since helped to lift the filthy gauze from my insightful mind.  It is amazing to me that we will continue to go back to the same feed lot, watering hole, (crappy Chinese restaurant that gave us extreme dyspepsia and nasty gut!) – what- have – you, time and time again, because it is easy, routine, familiar…   We don’t even realize that we are harming ourselves and actually partaking in behaviors that are toxic to our sweet selves until we Stop…  Really STOP, and breathe.  think.   Feel.

The older I get, and the busier that life becomes, as I weave my time with the 5 other creatures in our family that I share our home with (and yes, pets do count, as any squawky cat or 90 pound German Shepard will inform you!), the more I determine that if I/ we continue at break neck speed, what will happen is Just That.  I’m gonna break.  Snap.  Fall apart.  And I’m done with the punk rock beautiful corpse dream.  It’s what’s on the inside that will nourish you, and you are what you eat.  Simple as that.

I find it tragic that mongo-companies still have the audacity to assume that they can continually improve upon the bounty of mother nature by adding chemicals, stripping nutrients or packaging products into “diet” preparations, gluten free “foods”, or “low fat” options.   I have been a RN for 12 years, and an APRN for 6.5 years, and it’s been an interesting road full of turns in technology and pharmacology.   Sadly, I see many people in my clinical capacities that are left resorting to polypharmacy, multiple surgeries, and specialists up the wazoo to contend with their diabetes, depression, sleep apnea, asthma, reflux and irritable bowel disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, thyroid dysfunction, obesity… etc, etc, and are still sick.  Unwell.  Managing Dis- ease.

What if we all took a vacation into wellness?  What if we all took some additional time to record what we eat, when we eat, and how we feel after doing so?   What if we simplified by preparing meals at home that left us nourished, supported and well?  Satiated and satisfied, from the inside out?   What kind of surroundings are you in when feeding yourself?  Who is your company?   Are you being flogged with so much stimulation that your belly doesn’t know whether to panic or digest?  Are you able to note when the sensation of satiety is imminent, or is the connection of the mind, body and spirit so remote that the lines of communication only fire up when the body protests with discomfort?   Or perhaps are you sharing the space and meal with those that you love and cherish (including your sweet self!), and create warm, mindful sensations of community and connection?

Imagine …  a warm, roasted pear with cinnamon sprinkled atop, glistening with the syrup created by the fruit’s own fructose- rich juices.  Maybe some raisins or pomegranate seeds dappling the dish.

And now, imagine a Hot Pocket.

What are you thoughts?   If we are what we eat, what are you?

Until next time,

sending you love and light-

Joy

When do you change course?

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boat

There are many things that have great potential for isolating us from others in our lives. Our schedules. Our work. To live in the boondocks. Our decision to marry… to become parents. I do truly believe that there are friends that you keep for long periods of time with scant maintenance… the Spider Plants of kinship. A phone call here, an email there. A text with a humorous photo that reminds us of a funny past experience,…or not. Just keeps it light and in love. And you are left still with a budding green living thing that brings smiles and sweet air to your day, time and time again.

But then there are the folks that you reach out to again and again. Same channels, but horrible reception. We are all in it, knee high or to our necks… but we try to get past that scrum so we can just keep in touch. And we do so from a place of really wanting to check in with them, to see how the waters fare over in their jetty. Letting go of our shit, just saying Hey! How ARE you sister? I still love and think about you! I know it’s crazy over there because X-Y and Zzzz…. But catch me up! Give me the good word.

And ya get nada. Half-hearted replies, or nothing at all. You persist, again- being sympathetic to the currents, tides and tsunamis. But how may times can you shine the light their way? How many times do you reach out in hopes of connecting? Cuz after awhile, it starts to hurt when they don’t respond. or when they do so only superficially with promises of connecting that just never stay afloat.

To paraphrase a former teacher of mine, we need to stay spaciously aware of our boundaries… To love unconditionally, but stay abreast of where your borders are to avoid Soul Vampires. These creatures come in many forms, with various degrees of malice, whether realized or not, but metta/ loving-kindness starts with us, within, first and foremost. If we cannot care for ourselves deeply enough to build, maintain and nourish this space, this metta – we cannot extend it to others. We are all special beings that possess a lot of love and light, and need to learn and master the art of never giving our power away.

The Universe is an exceptional teacher and offers us wisdom in every cap, crest and breaker. It is an exquisite job to heed the siren call, and find our way home.

with love, always. To all.

Back on my mat…finally.

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As I round the corner into the 2nd trimester, I am starting to get back into my body, (or is it move outward?) as nausea and fatigue is lessening.  I remember with my first pregnancy I was markedly more tired in the 1st trimester and then waking up very near the onset of week 13 feeling as though I could jump over buildings in one bounding leap.  This was a relief- I was teaching a lot of belly dance classes, performing, and working 5 days a week, which was unheard of in my nursing career – 3 twelve hour shifts were de rigeuer as a RN, and I had been fortunate enough to work 4 ten hour days o

so I was thrilled to regain some energy and normalcy in the busy life.

Now I work only 2-3 days per week, I recently stopped teaching any yoga or dance classes, and yet I still have been feeling pretty run down, nauseous, etc. Of course now I am chasing a VERY 2 year old around, so who’s to say the load is lighter. I hit 13 weeks tomorrow and I have high expectations :)

The other week I took a level 2/3 heated vinyasa class from a teacher I know, and it was tough not getting frustrated with how run down, inflexible and weak I felt in the practice. I know better than to push myself beyond what my body asks of me, and I slowed the pace considerably during the class, and sat back in child’s pose as needed. My inversion was leg-up-the-wall/vipariti karani with a block, and it was fabulous. Of course I still felt the need to divulge to the instructor how good it felt to move after having not practiced in a few weeks due to morning sickness (…read: so I’m not just fat and lazy/weak, but pregnant and have been feasting on starchy things that are burly enough to sail the angry seas of my stomach), but even that admission, and her kindly appropriate response wasn’t enough to soothe my ego. Ah- ’tis the practice isn’t it? Still I left the studio feeling better than when I entered and that is a gift.

This morning, I gifted myself a lovely Yoga-Glo practice with the wonderful Elena Brower that was so needed and delicious. Online yoga class subscriptions can be a great way to practice with a little one when you can’t rationalize or afford the $20 class plus the $30 for the babysitter, and compared to following your own sequence can offer still the wisdom of a teacher who isn’t getting distracted by a toddler or dog, UPS man, what have you.

The practice was a great length, only 30 minutes, and I enjoyed the special messages shared by Elena for the momma’s yet the still moderately strong practice that got my blood moving, breath engaged and joints in motion. And of course, there’s the added practice of attention and patience when you are holding Virabradrasana II with your right buttock lightly placed onto a toddlers head. And had the sweet pleasures of kisses on Ari’s keppi while in downward facing dog/ Adho mukha svasana, and back rubs and hugs to him as he stacked blocks on my mat while I released forward toward him in upavistha konasana/seated wide leg forward bend. Even my 90 pound German Shepard, Meka, got involved when she heard me starting to get a little emotional/tearful in pigeon prep/ eka pada rajakapontanasana (ok- I was flat out crying, and I needed that. The hips had been stuck and to be honest, so have I – but damn it feels good to move). Pretty funny when you’re trying to practice while a toddler and a dog lay claim to your mat. But hey- it’s all in the family. And there’s a little member growing inside me right now that needs her/his time on the mat too. Here’s to getting back on it.

ari and joy and sunny matAnd in me.

Namaste and all love.

20 Questions for Thanksgiving – from Daily Good’s post authored by Ms. by Karen Horneffer-Ginter

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I love the quote that started this off:

Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude. –Albert Schweitzer

I love to be reminded to reflect on gratitude. Any one who has ever taken my yoga classes will have been urged to think on our gifts more than once, and this is an important ability and task to keep in a regular practice of yoga, life, what have you. The following questions were adapted from the email blast I get from Daily Good, and couldn’t resist completing and sharing here. Here’s wishing you great love and light, as well as heartfelt gratitude for all that we experience, embody and share.

1) What teacher are you most thankful for and why? What did you learn from him or her?

Oh wow— this one is tough. I am a fan of teachers. I have had many (as we all have) and each one has shared wisdom that has inspired me, whether intentionally or not. There have been unsavory lessons from teachers who should have taken the time to evaluate their position as teacher and role model after leaving me with feelings of inadequacy based on my gender, appearance or ballet anatomical turn out, as it were… But this ultimately led me to adopt that old adage to Question Authority – priceless. And I was also lucky enough to have had teachers who saw gifts of uniqueness and creative beauty in me; English teachers, other art, dance and yoga teachers. It’s all about identifying your creative spark and feeding that flame, sister.

2) What’s the season you’re most thankful for, and what’s your favorite part of each season?

Autumn. Autumn brings about change, mystique, and downright magic. Colors, and sounds and smells, apples and crazy multicolored gourds fer Goddess sake! What’s not to love about that?
However, the Quadfecta of four seasons is what it’s all about:
The shush and ethereal blue glow of snow laden hills and trees. The smell of wood-burning fireplaces. Hot cozy beverages in warm ceramic in your cupped hands. Baking nom’s. Chilled cheeks and legs after crusading down slopes or through fields on whatever sliding device you favor. And that phenomenal first pint of whatever hoppy brew you select after doing so.
The thaw of moss and streams in the woods in Spring. Bird song bursting through ice shell and echoing among the clattering trees, awaiting buffer of budding leaves and blossoms in the branches they soar to and from.
The beach in summer, warm breezes, coconut scented anything, sundresses and exploding freckles (believe me.. they *do* explode… propagate like rabbits I say.)

3) What electronic device are you most grateful for, and what does it add to your life?

Ugh… I don’t KNOW. I mean, I am addicted to my damn iPhone. It’s ridiculous. It adds mad convenience, duh– like on hand GPS for when I ascend topside from the metro north and have no idea whether to turn right or left. And firming up plans, sending emails, blah blah blah. But methinks I need to curtail it’s convenience and maybe be Inconvenienced from time to time. For the sake of human interaction or book reading.

4) What musician or type of music are you most thankful for?

Oh yeah, Geez! Another simple inquiry! I am a lover of music here. MANY kinds. But let’s think formative. Tom Waits. Kim Deal. PJ Harvey… Big ups. David Bowie. Iggy Pop. The Pixies. Garth Stevenson. Snatam Kaur Khalsa. The X. Gaucho. Gottschalk. Ravel. Tchaikovsky. Gershwin. The Toids. I mean, really… This is a blog in itself.

5) What are you most grateful for that brings beauty to your daily life?

My son. Hand’s down. Ari is the most amazing, adaptive, brilliant, entertaining, enlightening, loving, glowing being I have ever encountered in my life and I thank God every day that he is in it and I was part of his amazing creation.

6) What form of exercise or physical activity are you most thankful for?

Yoga and hiking. And dancing. And kayaking. And snowboarding. But these last two, and sometimes number 1-3 as well, have been postponed for the duration due to extenuating circumstances (see #5).

7) What foods are you most thankful for?

HAH! Really? You may run away after reading this– please be mindful that I am 10 weeks pregnant and nauseous as all get out, but what I manage to stoke the digestive fires with lately has been some pretty nasty stuff. But as my midwife states, first trimester is all about survival, and I anticipate maneuvering into a more healthful diet come 2nd and 3rd trimester ( if my first pregnancy was any indication- save those steak and cheese grinders from that deli in the ‘Hill in New Haven when I worked evening clinic). Ok– so biscuits of various varieties, with gravy, without, with cheeseeggsveggiemeats, etc. Ruffles Cheddar chips. yes. that is right. Apples and apple cider. Cheese. bread and butter. Mini-veggie corn-dogs (hey! Where are you going?!?!).

8) What local store or restaurant are you most grateful for? How does it contribute to your quality of life?

Whole Foods for the win. I know it’s not “local” per se, but I do try to purchase local items when there. This little (ahem- BIG) gem of a place offers a sanctuary where my momma-sistren friend, Alison and her son, Robert, can meet after playground-ing it up. We give the boys awesome wood stove pizza and milk, and then chase them up and down the eatery hall while getting sweetly accepting smiles and nods, if not the occasional unsolicited body barrier from one doll of a checkout gal, as we try to inhale our own lunches and catch up. Side note– WF in Fairfield has a great tiny play area for the kids at the terminal end, whereas Milford’s does not. But they both rock.

9) What book are you most grateful for, and why?

I don’t have one…sorry. But again, many- and not complete list: Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent, My Shining Star- by Rosemary Wells, Jamberry – by Bruce Degen, Finding More on the Mat- by Michelle Marchildron, Nourishing the Teacher by Danny Arguetty, the Sookie Stackhouse books (until about vol 13), George R.R. Martin books, as well as those by Virgina Woolf, David Sedaris. The Bhagavad Gita, Autobiography of a Yogi, and the Yoga Sutra’s.

10) What act of kindness has made the greatest difference in your life?

Being comforted by one of my midwife’s whose firstborn also refused to be born without a c-section despite pushing for many hours and doing “all we were supposed to do” during our pregnancy, and then the amazing support of Dr. Jennifer Young as Ari & I struggled to do the “most natural thing in the world”, breastfeed.

11) What challenging experience has ended up changing your life for the better?

See all above.
Oh- and marriage.

12) What form of art are you most thankful for: music, acting, writing, painting, drawing . . . something else?

ALL! Dance, music, writing, painting… collage, decorative vegetable preparation, sky-writing, mimes, you name it.

13) What place do you feel most grateful for and why?

My body. Because it rocks.

And our home.

And here: Les Cheneaux islands

14) Name three days in your life that you feel especially grateful for.

Wedding day, Ari’s birth date and today.

15) What color do you feel most thankful for—is there a color that you can’t imagine living without?

GREEN.

16) Is there a personal limitation or flaw that you’ve come to appreciate?

My fiery, hot-headed bitchy self. The more I embrace it the easier it is to calm.

17) What vacation are you most grateful for?

Oh- Dave and I had SUCH an amazing time in Old San Juan and Vieques, PR a few years ago. Until I sunburnt my ass while face down snorkeling for 3 hours. But then again, that only accentuated après in the thatch roofed seaside bar.

18) What philanthropic cause or organization do you feel thankful for?
Save the Children, PPFA, NOW.

19) What product do you use on a daily basis that you most appreciate?

St Ives Collagen Elastin facial moisturizer. and toothpaste.

20) What, from this year, do you feel most grateful for?

My perseverance through thick and thin. My family and friends (those who have stuck with me despite my change in parental status and recreational activities) and being able to work part time so I can be with my family as we grow and therefore find more and more love for one another.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all. <3

repost from Jan 2011– Winter Wonderland!

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Holy crow! We got another foot today! That’s 4 storms since Xmas that have yielded at least a foot accumulation… I’m normally a winter lover but this is my 1st winter as a mommy and it’s been quite a trip. Haven’t been on the mountain snowboarding & have been home from work since August. I also haven’t been apt to run out in this weather cuz of the little guy, and I have been such a homebody. I’m a little cabin fevered out! I notice how it has affected my yoga practice. I have been taking a lot of intense, hot yoga or vinyasa classes, seemingly to optimize my time away from home and make my practice “worth it”. This may be also residually pent up from when I was pregnant and had to modify my practice to a simpler style… I have developed some pretty crummy bilateral DeQuervain’s tendonitis since pregnancy and I definitely feel its impact though, sadly. Icing my wrists, using Traumeel (Thanks Meg!) But it makes me wonder what is the yoga for me? It’s amazing to me how yoga means so many different to so many… reading about Tara Stiles in the NYTimes; Bikram, Ashtanga, Kundalini, Anusara…. Researching more and more of Ayurveda, and how we can apply it to ourselves in individual “prescriptions”, if you will, has made me realize that this Pitta probably should cool it on the hot practices. But those hot rooms feel fabulous in this weather! At least for the first 20 mins or so… *laughs*

Anyway, I am going into work tomorrow for a short day with mixed emotions, excitement and regret… Bittersweet. This time at home with my newborn son Ari has been a blessing and I am so lucky to have had it. I’m also so thrilled to be able to work part time, so I can still be home with him 4 days of the week. They all say it, but these times do pass so rapidly, and it’s so true. I am packing up his newborn jammies to send to my brother who has recently become a new father, and his boy, Rowley will need all the jammies he can get— I know this to be true.

I do look forward to fulfilling my role as a nurse practitioner again, particularly in women’s health, and really look forward to getting my schedule more regulated so I can find the niches for classes that allow me to cool it, and breathe. Namaste.

Kriya at 5am (repost from 02/2011)

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Two days in a row, I’ve had waking & rising times at 5 am (as instituted by my infant son, Ari). As de rigeur, I started off with a cup of coffee, and tuned into pandora.com on the laptop to check emails, etc. I started a Snatam Kaur Khalsa station to listen to. Bhakti yoga is the yoga of devotion and chanting, and Snatam aligns with the Kundalini practice of chanting so divinely–her voice is so angelic, and is one of my favorite kirtan-ista’s. Taken with the fresh snowfall and twinkling star & moonlight shining above our humble abode, I aligned with the Adi mantra; Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo, which translates to “”I call upon Divine Wisdom”. I have recently had a lot on my metaphysical plate, so to speak, of the What Color is Your Parachute variety, so when this chant came on the station I listened, and sang along. I was inspired to look into some kriyas and found this on the web.

I was invigorated! Kappalabati breath is a tried and true pranayama for firing up and energizing, so coupled with these kriyas (Kriya (in Sanskrit “action, deed, effort”) most commonly refers to a “completed action”, technique or practice within a yoga discipline meant to achieve a specific result. Types of kriya may vary widely between different schools of yoga. .. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kriya ) I had energy, attention and vigor through the entire day. Pretty tall order for a new mommy who gets two 3 hour spans of sleep throughput the night and requires a nap daily. On my 1st day back to work, I had a similar day, and didn’t have time to nap, and I was still feelin’ the Kundalini love. Rockin’ good findings. Sign me up, Shakti!

http://www.kundaliniyoga.org/mantra.html