Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thank you

I love to read!   I enjoy getting lots in someone else's creation, in having the freedom to take their words and create my own world as well.  Reading is a love affair, where a world unique to you and the author exists for a moment.  That world is formed from their imagination inspiring your imagination, it is why everyone has so many different opinions about different writing, everyone is having their own experience.  

So what is the writer's role in that relationship?   What resonsiblities does one take on when they decide to call themselves a writer?   I wrote many essays in school about the responsiblities a scientist accepts, the social contract that they sign when agreeing to serve society.   I have never considered what the social contract is for a writer and society?    Do I even want to give myself that sort of title, that resonsiblity?    

The fact is I have always loved writing, I have notebooks filled, I write stories in my head before I fall asleep, I find inspiration to write in the oddest places.   When I first started working on this blog, was really the first time I put my writing out there for anyone to read.   I still never considered myself a blogger or a writer, it was just a hobby, a way for me to hold myself to a higher standard.   A way for me to focus on the beautiful, brillant things in life when I just wanted to hide from the world and the challenges I was being given.   

Thank you for helping me hold myself to that higher standard, thank you for engaging in this intimate exchange of information.  For allowing me a part of whatever you create while you read my words.

Question to consider: What is a writer?  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Meal time

I am either a terrible blogger or a wonderful blogger because I didn't take a bunch of photos of my time in the hopsital or my incisisons.  I did take a photo when I was served breakfast to show Adam that I was being taken care of.  I ended up having to spend the night in the hospital, so that they could monitor me, and Adam wanted to ensure that someone was watching out for me.    

So I had some good moments of confusion in the night, I thought one of my nurses was one of my good friends, and I started telling her how excited I was for her trip.   I had the moment when I forgot I was still attached to my IV.   Mostly the confusion is about reminding myself that I am still able to get out of bed, I can still make decisions for myself even if my mind is cloudy, and that it is totally okay to be confused once in a while.   

People generally treat you with kindness and are very gentle about correcting your mistakes.  I tend to worry about how judgemental I think people are, I have slowly realized I am really the judgemental one, I tend to judge myself, and judge myself harshly.  It isn't other people, it is really my inner conversation that is judgemental and unkind.  So what happens when I stop listening to that voice, when I stop giving that voice power to make me feel poorly about myself for making a mistake?   

What happens is I care more about being happy than being right.  In fact I enjoy the times I am wrong, because I see it as a lesson on how to improve instead of some sort of proof that I am a horrible person.   (I don't write that lightly, I really used to believe I was a horrible person.)    

Question to consider:  What is your inner voice like?  When do you chose to listen to it?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Third time pays all

I have been doing a lot of thinking about what it means to be a woman.   Growing up the majority of the women in my life were either mothers or nuns.  I learned what it meant to be a woman from my mom, my grandmother, friend's moms and my teachers who generally were either nuns or moms themselves.   When Adam and I began our experience with infertility and IVF I decided that I there must be something wrong with me, I decided I must be less of a woman because I wasn't able to have children.  Some common questions  for that time in my life what "what is wrong with me?"  or "Why isn't life fair?"   While I stayed in the state of focusing on what I didn't have, I missed out on a lot of my life.   Adam and I would put off doing fun things, because of treatments or hoping that I would get pregnant that cycle.  While focusing on my health during that time was necessary, my internal dialogue and hating my body and life didn't help me concieve or be happy.  

Recently when my body started hurting, when I started to have irregular bleeding, and my doctor began requesting me to repeat ultrasounds to monitor ovarian cysts, I could've chosen to go back to the old pattern of hating my body, of feeling like my body was attacking me, feeling betrayed.  Instead I kept doing my work and living my life, unfortunately the pain and the bleeding increased.   So I decided to go visit a surgeon to get more information.

Today I am headed into surgery, to remove the cysts that have been contributing to my discomfort for the last couple of years.  As I began to prepare for the surgery, it brought up a lot of emotions relating to my last surgeries and left me asking myself again "what does it mean to be a woman?"    I realized I still don't have a reasonable answer for that question.    

Therefore I will stick to an unreasonable answer to that question, I am a woman because I was born to be one.   I have gotten the chance to be the little princess, the drama queen teenager, the blushing bride, the bitter infertile, a mother and so many other facets of being a woman.  I know that I have not gotten the chance to raise a biological child, however when I get to sit with children at work, when I am sitting with my hospice patients, I get to experience that nurturing side, that unconditional love, which is what we all crave from a mother.  

I am chosing this time to see this surgery, the pain, the journey to heal as a blessing.   I am so grateful that I will heal, that I will continue to discover new parts of myself and that I will be able to help people.   There are plenty of times where I am screaming in pain, where I am gritting my teeth, or freaking out about what is happening and then I remember what a gift my life is, what it has been.   I don't intend to miss out on so much again, by focusing on loss, or what I can't do.   I am grateful for what I can do and I look forward to exploring how to heal my body using new tools.   I look forward to teaching my yoga class as I get back to normal and showing them it isn't always perfect.  At the same time it is ALWAYS perfect.   

Question to consider: What is perfect right now, in this moment?   Close your eyes and find the perfection.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Meditation

What is meditation?   Is it sitting in a specific posture, with the eyes closed and the mind still?   Have you ever attempted to stop the thoughts running through your mind, just by sitting still?   We live in a culture, in a world where everything is happening so fast, and I know my thoughts move so fast sometimes I could get dizzy.  It has taken me a lot of practice to just be able to sit still and pay attention to my breath, to be present in one moment.   Right now that is what meditation is to me, to be present in the moment.  To notice my breath, to really feel how a simple breath fills all the different parts of my body, to notice the areas it moves into easily and to notice the areas that don't recieve well.  

My definition of meditation and my understanding of it has changed a lot in the last couple of years.  My first impression of meditation was that it was the absence of thought, that people who meditated knew how to shut off the thoughts, and just basked in silence.  So I got frustrated, because the more I thought I about turning off my thoughts the more they seemed to race.  The more I focused on not moving in a posture the more I wanted to move, the more it hurt.   

My teachers helped me understand the importance of shifting the focus to what you want.   So if sitting completely still and rigid hurts, don't do it.   One thing to focus on is breath, so I started laying down, with my spine long and my back supported, breathing was easy in that postion for me.  I didn't have to force my breath, I could simply observe it.   

The more I practiced the more I was able to find that peaceful state, that stillness I was looking for.  I was able to find that state throughout my day.   I was able to find stillness in movement.  I was also able to find the movement in stillness, the balance that my body is capbable of achieving. Even if I just observed it for a microsecond, this wasn't about holding a state, I first had to find what that state felt like to me.  

I was in a class the other way, playing with balancing.  The photo below, finding that place is all about balance.  Finding the activation in the feet, not flipping over, trusting the arms and hands to hold you, it is finding that perfect spot where the position is comfortable and the mind relaxes, it lets go.   I trust my arms to hold me, I allow my nervous system to find the balance point and I feel my body.  I have found when I am really in touch with my senses, when I trust in my ability to find stability, my mind doesn't race.

Question to consider: What is your experience with meditation?  How do you define that state?


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Therapy dog

This is just the cutest little dog in a tuxedo.   Meet the therapy dog that comes to the advocacy center. I have not gotten the pleasure of working with her, however last week at our volunteer appreciation dinner I got to sit at the same table with him and her owner.   I can only imagine what a soothing presence this little pup provides to the children.   I got to hear plenty of stories, and see the owner's face as she talked about her journey with training a therapy dog.   It is amazing all the different ways people are able to contribute to causes that mean a lot to them.

I am so happy I am included in this great group of volunteers and staff.  These people really give their hearts to the children that come in every day.

Question to consider:  Do you the discipline to train a therapy dog?   Adam and I looked into it at one point, and decided that Sterling is a little too neurotic and we are a little too lazy.  However Sterling is an excellent therapy dog for the two of us.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cutting

So I was at work the other day, cutting out some shapes for one of the therapists, and I suddenly remembered different times in school cutting out different shapes.  From elementary school all the way to my degree in cytogentics there was always something involving scissors, paper, shapes and some sort of realization.    I learn with shapes, I learn by manipulating shapes and there is something beautiful to me about guiding the scissors in just the right way to create a symbol.   To create some thing that is recognizable to everyone who has the eyes to see.

While I was cutting out the shapes for this project, I had no attachment to what they were going to be used for, honestly I was just happy to be helping out in someway.  I didn't feel the need to ask what was going to happen, how the work was going to be used, I just cut out the shapes and went on to my next task.  

This is such a different mindset for me, I like to KNOW things.  I like to put all the pieces of a puzzle together, so that I know where I fit in.   Lately I am just happy doing the tasks that come up, (except maybe housework), and moving on to the next task without wondering how the shapes I cut out are going to be used by the next person.  

I am starting to learn that I don't need to see the puzzle (life) to know that my piece fits in perfectly.   

Question to consider: What types of arts and crafts from your childhood do you still enjoy?  When is the last time you allowed yourself to play with that art or craft?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Exploring healing

So Adam got me an awesome Christmas present, it was two parts.  The first part was a board game called Forbidden Desert, where we got to escape the desert either together or not at all.   The second part I had to earn by winning the game.   We won on the first try!!

So he decided that if we were ever trapped in the desert as soon as I got home I would want to go to a spa.  (I figured I would want some water and a shower, so Adam just raised the standard.)    

So Adam got me a gift certificate to Houston Ayurveda Center, which I got to redeem today.  So when he first purchased this gift her thought it would be a great opportunity for me to learn and explore Ayurveda and learn about doshas.   Little did we know that my body was a little bit out of balance and this was going to be more of a how do I help my body heal.  

My teacher likes to talk about how people that ask to be healers generally get to be tested with their own health issues.  One so that they can really learn how the body is capable of healing and also because it is difficult to have empathy for someone if you haven't had your own experiences.  So I have ben lucky to have a lot of pain in my life, migraines, chronic back pain, IVF treatments, shingles and ovarian cysts.  I say that I am lucky because I have learned things about my body I never would have learned without those experiences, I have also learned my body is pretty miraculous, it keeps going.   

Through yoga and my daoist studies I have learned and explored a lot of pain.  I have learned that pain is not "bad,"  it is simply a signal that needs to be interpreted.  It is just another way that my body communicates with my mind.   Sometimes it means "stop,"  sometimes it means "be gentle,"  sometimes it means "the muscles are getting stronger,"  and sometimes it just is.  Pain is not a punishment it is simply a way to get the mind's attention, so that I pay attention and change something.  

While I was in my consultation at the Ayurveda Center I was told, pain can make it easy to be angry with the body, to hate the body.  Can you still love your body with the pain?  Pain is a part of the human experience and if you learn to love the body, the pain, all the sensations real healing can take place.  Healing comes from love, from true love.   While I was listening to this, I thought: I am so grateful that my body is healing, it is doing everything that I ask it to do.  I am in awe of what it is capable of, and I can be patient with it.   I can listen to it and with my doctors make the best decision about what steps to explore next.  

Question to consider: What is one way that you have experienced healing in your life?