Category Archives: Femme replete

Hibernation blues

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imageNow that we’ve had our date with Punxsutawney Phil, we can all agree that we’ve been really lucky this winter, as I see it, in regards to weather. Right?! Remember when we got 4 ft of snow dropped on us two years ago? That event holds a particular special spot in my heart; I was 5 months pregnant, our then two year old and I held down the fort as my husband was away snowboarding in Utah. Thank god for toddlers who nap, which allowed me to shovel my buried Highlander out, and for the kindness of a neighbor who plowed the driveway, once I had done so!

Or even more memorable, was the winter of 2010, we got a foot of snow each week for 6 weeks. I was a new mother foraging in unknown, isolated territory, in our rural homestead with no other young mothers to check in with. Talk about true grit! That almost did me in, but that’s another tale I’ve lived to retell.

By this point, I have thankfully wizened to the fact that not only do my needs change with each season here in Connecticut, but what I do to support myself so that I can show up happily, healthily, and fully, changes as well. I’ve taken particular interest in really nourishing my body, now two kids later and almost 4 decades into residency in this particular temple, the fact couldn’t be any more blatant or real… This is my Ride, and I need to polish, preen and pimp it until the day I leave it.

I am a full on supporter of sufficient nighttime sleep and naps, whether child or adult, and I know my need for adequate sleep is deep. Sleep deprivation is incredibly taxing, and it seems more women that I ask about their nighttime sleep confide that many sleep between 3 and 6 hours per night. No wonder they find that their transition into menopause is more laden with hot flashes and anxiety, and younger ladies experience weight gain, agitation and loss of concentration, among many other maladies.

Dr. James Beckerman, (http://www.webmd.com/beckerman-james) states “that various sleep cycles play a role in “consolidating” memories in the mind. If you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t be able to remember what you learned and experienced during the day.” Sacrificing sleep in order to work longer hours or later at night ends up creating more work, not working wiser or more efficiently.

When we don’t allow ourselves enough sleep, our bodies can fail to support us not only psychically, but physically. Chances for developing serious health concerns like diabetes, depression, obesity and heart palpitations greatly increase, and sleep deprivation leads to potentially doubling the risk of cardiac arrest.

The first 6 months postpartum with our second son was hell. He nursed like a champ, and I was grateful. But he needed to be attached to me nonstop. Literally. I would prop up on the couch, side lying, as he latched on, and then fell asleep as my husband and I tried to have some “R&R” in front of the TV once our toddler was in bed. David would bring me snacks and beverages, while I was tethered to our baby. This continued into bed, and if we lost physical contact, he would thrash for me and re-latch. I was a mess. How I managed to work, albeit part time, was a miracle, and I thank god I wasn’t prescribing medications at that time for any patients, just obtaining medical histories in collaboration with an anesthesiologist.

Once we got baby into his own room with the help of an amazing Sleep Doula at 7 months, it was like I finally could notice sunshine, and remember what I had done 5 minutes ago. It took me honestly 6 months to heal from the deprivation. I am so grateful for that time with our baby B, but now recognize guiltlessly that if I am tired, then dammit- I’m going to bed! I am so much happier when I get 7.5 -8 hours at night, and do my best to set myself up to do so. Winding down in the evening with relaxing activities is key, and making certain that I have some quiet time after any television ensures my nervous system isn’t still processing before I attempt sleep.

I know when the days become longer, my sleep requirements may transition as well, but for now, I am settled with the need for deeper rest, reflection and re-cooperation from our busy days.

How rested are you these days? Please share below what you feel you’re doing that supports your nocturnal rejuvenation, or what could use some polishing.

With love and wishes for wellness,
Joy

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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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.

And so it begins.

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I decide that all the recommendations to journal have found hefty real estate in my mind.  I’ve discovered much in the last 5 years, and that path of discovery certainly ramped up to A.P. standards in the last 3 years; pregnancy, birth, motherhood, rinse and now launching a repeat cycle.  The times have of course been whirlwind– no mystery there; but the amount of growth and resolve that has been borne of these wondrous times is exhilarating.  I write now for many reasons, two of which I will explain now…. the others that will certainly become clear in due time.

I write to continue this path in a healthy, contemplative way, continuing to reflect upon all that happens within our little family and in my life.  In these past few years I have come to a level of maturity in my yoga practice, my friendships, my marriage and overall, in my life.  And I wish to impart what I have learned and experienced both to hopefully shed some community light to other momma’s as well as to look back on how far I have come and all the magickal times I’ve been privy to with our 2 year old son, and my husband.  I can’t believe he’s already two, or that we have another on the way.

I get teary thinking about that now…  How even the memory of my son wiggling in my belly seems so distant.  The lessons of parenthood come swift and plentiful, and if you listen and heed, you find that your yoga practice is always with you and strengthening day by day, even if you don’t balance upside down or sit in padmasana.

I look so forward to this journey of reflection and sharing the love.

Om Shanti, Momma.  Peace Peace Peace.