Category Archives: Seasonal greet

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

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. ❤

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.