Motherhood=Surrender

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Motherhood is teaching me sweet sweet surrender in every moment. What a lesson in impermanence. Where there is growth, there is letting go while trying to hold on.

Motherhood is teaching me surrender. Everyday as my daughter grows, transforms, and changes instantly, I am faced with impermanence. The sacred lesson of the divine feminine is that of surrender. As women, we learn the subtleties of letting go when we give birth, love, raise children, and as our bodies transform with every cycle of the moon. We intimately know the workings of the divine feminine.

Indira has taught me surrender. She’s the greatest teacher as every child is. My daughter’s condition Tuberous Sclerosis Complex has also taught me surrender. Honestly, it would be easy for me to worry every minute of the day about Indira– worry if she is going to have a seizure, or suddenly regress, or start to have behavioral issues, or grow skin lesions on her beautiful face, or be diagnosed with Autism. Yes, that is all possible. I worry she will have a seizure in the middle of the night, or when I am not near her. It’s part of being her mother and a mother. You worry. You cry. You laugh. You practice patience. You let go of trying to control. I surrender to the moment. The moments that are incredible, beautiful, and sweet as well as completely uncomfortable and incredibly challenging.

I feel so deeply that when we allow ourselves to surrender we create space for the present moment to unfold. We allow it to be all that it can be and possibly more.

P.S. Today, I am grateful and feel blessed that my daughter is miraculously beating all the odds. She’s doing well, and is seizure free. She’s smart and engaged in all of life. She’s happy.  I’ll pray for that daily. Blessed be.

Ready, Set, GO!

Indira Slides

Indira waits at the top of the slide. Excitement builds in her eyes. Ready, set, go– she flies down the slide. Full of smiles and complete joy. She is ready to go down again. She doesn’t have fear. She is free.

She didn’t plan how she was going to get down the slide. She didn’t think of every little curve or detail of the curve. She didn’t write a detailed plan. Nor, did she sit at the top of the slide waiting for the perfect moment.

The perfect moment is the one you are in.

When we are standing on top of a mountain slope, on the edge of a high diving board, or on the ledge of a trapeze platform ready to fly, or a metaphorical bridge we may stay there awhile contemplating if we are ready or not. Most of the time you can turn around, otherwise, there is only one way to go—down.

We may not ever be ready. And yet, what if everything you have done in your life was guiding you to that perfect moment? What if you are ready? It is scary to take giant-boundless-leaps a là Hanuman.

Lately, I feel stuck on top of the slide, because I am scared—scared to go. I make a long list of excuses. I hole up and hide out. I believe the stories I have created about failure and success. So, I wait a little longer. This is not my normal. Normally, I just go for it, and I am meditating on an abundant result. Sometimes that happens and sometimes it doesn’t.

Either way, I trust that I am in the perfect moment and a lesson is woven in the waiting to be ready.

We are all READY. We are all in that perfect moment. Ready…Set…Go!

***Coming very soon is a new coaching endeavor I will be working on to help children and families with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex and Autism. ***

Moving to Acceptance

“We need to learn that obstacles and challenges may always prevail in our lives, but we do not have to hurt.” Sri Swamini Mayatitananda (Maya Tiwari)

Denial seems to be built into the consciousness of our families, our society, and our conscious reality. We would much rather ignore than embrace. We would much rather not accept than accept. Somehow this seems to be much easier, because it requires no work at all, whereas accepting and embracing all of it takes deep inner-work.

Living in denial is not accepting some part of your life that you don’t like or want to be different. Life is miraculously imperfect and perfect.

When your child has something wrong, has an incurable condition, or genetic condition it is extremely difficult to accept. Actually, it is very painful and heartbreaking to accept. How do you accept that your child has a rare genetic condition? I will tell you that accepting that my daughter has Tuberous Sclerosis Complex is a daily practice. I share my story because I know that other parents are facing similar situations. This is not limited to my particular situation. We all at times are in a process of accepting the most challenging parts of our lives.

I have come to the conclusion that being in denial is not helpful for anyone, especially my daughter. If I deny that she has Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, I am not accepting reality and or prepared to face what she may experience with presence and compassion. I have to be present when I sit at the doctor’s office with her, give her vitamins, be attentive when she swims, gets an MRI, and watch her grow into the person she will be.

If I accept, and embrace all of it then I can work with her. I can fight and advocate for her, and work to support, and nourish her. When I accept the situation, I am ready and willing to meet what happens fully. Then, I can do everything in my power to help her heal. Yes, heal. There is no cure for this condition, yet there is a way to change the expression of her condition—I believe.

Some days more challenging than others.  I pray and wish that she didn’t have this condition, and I worry about her daily. I have a choice. I can worry, and deny reality or accept it. Most days, I choose acceptance as challenging as it is. Deep breaths, prayer, meditation, asana, and mantra—it all makes a difference.

The blessing is that my daughter is doing well. She is making progress. She is seizure free, and her lesions have not grown as far as we know. She is strong willed, independent, fiery, and determined. She is not her condition, and none of us are the conditions that we have.

If we are willing to step into empowerment, we can transform our suffering and denial into the light of acceptance where it all can be healed.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you would like to know more about Tuberous Sclerosis, please visit the Tubersous Sclerosis Alliance’s homepage.

Actualize your Purpose

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Aha moments are like finding the perfect quartz crystal buried in the dirt. They illuminate the path.

We all have gifts to offer. We all have a divine purpose. Yet, sometimes we wander aimlessly or clearly in the wrong direction until we get there, or we don’t recognize what gifts we do have. Lately, I have been feeling less than inspired, and trying to figure out why. It hit me. I missed teaching. I missed being a teacher. I missed having a class. I missed engaging. My purpose is to teach, and when I am not actively teaching for awhile, I start to miss it, and feel without purpose.  My classroom and students have changed, because I no longer have four walls and desks in front of me, but a 17-month old who is my teacher and most important student. So, I am still looking for my next classroom and waiting to meet new students.

How do you discover your divine purpose?

I look at our divine purpose as the one thing that you must do in life. It is the illuminating spark that keeps you interested, motivated, inspired, and devoted.

Actualize your PURPOSE!

1. Make a list, answering these questions: What do you do that wows people? What do you love doing? What do you dream about? What keeps you interested, motivated, inspired, and devoted? If you don’t have the answers to any of these questions, the answers will show themselves through discovery and diving into your inner-world.

2. Do your answers complement your current situation? If not, how can you make changes to your life? Research. Find out what it may take.

3. Write a vision of the perfect scenario. Make it feel real. Make it feel dreamy. Fall in love with your vision.

4. Make a plan that outlines goals, deadlines, and how you are going to meet your goals. This is the action packed part. This is where you can actualize your purpose.

5. Let it all sink into your being.

 

Beauty of Impermanence

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You witness, you embody, you hope, you pray daily, you cry, and you let go.

Every day transformations

Every day growth.

You attach to one moment that completely amazes you, opens your heart more and more to joy, and then another comes.

You practice impermanence quietly praying that this moment will last forever somewhere deep inside your heart,

and then the next moment comes.

 

 

 

Relaxing into the Back Body

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A group of monastic sisters sit eating. Their backs are hunched over, bodies caved in, hearts protected, and heads bowed quietly eating. Their backs covered in energetic armor.

Our back body and spine tell a story. What does their story tell—devotion, protection, shame, or obedience? What does our back body and spine say about our experience? Are we aware of what we hold in our armor?

We experience life through our front body as we engage with our world through our sense organs, while our back body responds to every one of these encounters. Energetically, we undulate between our front and back body balancing in the core of our being—our spine.

Our spine is our divine channel. When we relax into our spine we open the energetic channels of our entire being.

Practices for relaxing into back body:

  1. Svanasana: Resting on your back in svanasana begin to pay attention to your back body. Bring your awareness to the back of the head, neck, shoulders, back of the arms, spine, whole of the back, back of the knees, legs, ankles and heels. Once you get to the feet bring the energy back up through the spine. Focus on each vertebrae starting at the base of your spine from the sacrum and moving up towards to the back of your head. And, then rest for 10 minutes or longer.
  2. Elongate the spine vertebrae by vertebrae. You can do this through a series of asanas focusing on extending the spinal column. My suggested asanas are uttanasana, paschimottanasana, virasana with arm variations specifically urdhva hasta and baddhanguliyasana, sirsasana (5-minutes), sarvangasana (5-minutes). Please only attempt inversions if you have a dedicated inversion practice and can maintain alignment and stamina in those asanas. To rest into your back body more deeply, I recommend practicing restorative asanas like supta badha konasana and supta virasana.
  3. Use essential oils to awaken your spine, such as frankincense, wild orange, lavender, or fir.
  4. In meditation visualize your spine being an open channel reaching through the earth and up through the crown and beyond.
  5. Express the story of your back body. Are you protecting your heart so fiercely that you have built up energetic armor? Do you experience back pain from past trauma? Do you resist opening your back?
  6. Lay in the grass! Rest into the earth!

 

 

 

 

Be Nurtured

All because of a flower. Yes, it’s true. A White Ceanothus in the form of a flower essence or tincture of this potent little flower called Mother’s Milk or Loving Support. I feel like myself again. I got into vigilant nurturing of myself. Amen to a host of rituals that bring us back to ourselves. As women we feel called to nurture-as mothers, lovers, partners, friends, and beyond, and so we need to nurture each other and ourselves more often. This has been a deep lesson for me in the past few weeks, as I stopped nursing my daughter. Taking time to nurture myself has given me the energy I need to be a mother and partner, and I am getting back into my grounded place again. I asked myself, “What am I missing? And, what do I need to do to nurture myself?” First, were roses, chocolate, sage burning, and then my oils.

Be nurtured with roses, chocolate, an altar and a prayer, divine essential oils from DoTerra (patchouli, ylang ylang, clary sage), a feather and heart along the way, and taking time to nurture yourself in the ways that only you know how.

What are you missing? What nurtures you? What do you need?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Reminders

sf sunsetApproximately six-months ago we were facing our deepest fears as our 7-month old daughter was being admitted to the hospital. We had no idea what was going to happen. We were scared, bewildered, and traumatized. And, when we received a diagnosis we didn’t understand and only heard the words “rare genetic condition” and “tumors” you can imagine our shock and trauma.

Trauma leaves a reminder. A reminder that rests in you until you can find a way to face and heal that trauma. Some traumatic experiences we may not heal in this lifetime; however, we can begin to unravel and evolve from them.

The reminders for me appear in an empty crib my daughter refuses to sleep in due to her own trauma, the emergency seizure medicine in my purse, the bi-monthly appointments with a development specialist, her ash leaf marks (white skin pigmentation), the supplements, the actual thought that she has benign tumors in her brain, the neurologist appointments, and the yearly MRIs she must endure. For some parents of children with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex they face daily complications like regular seizures, autism, developmental delay, and behavioral issues.

I write this post for everyone that has experienced trauma and other parents in similar situations. My daughter’s diagnosis still remains as a trauma I can’t deny or forget. I have begun to scratch the surface of facing my trauma, and this begins the healing process. I thought that I wouldn’t ever actually write this post. Healing is a private journey and process for many, including myself. The challenge here is that no one can do this healing for you. You have to heal your own trauma. Of course, if it’s too daunting seeking support is best. Honestly, I didn’t want to face the fact that I haven’t even begun to heal and need more time.

Trauma has a way of keeping you in a place of continual fear, and fight or flight. We want so deeply to heal and to completely erase it from our being and memory.

What if we had the ability to transform and evolve from our trauma? What if we became empowered from these very challenging, and traumatic experiences instead of hiding out or feeling victimized by them? I know it’s possible. 

I have watched my daughter at 15-months transform her condition from something potentially debilitating to becoming a healthy, determined, manifesting fire-child. She is making progress daily. Every day that she does well and continues to demonstrate progress, I am grateful, heal a little bit more, and have unwavering faith that my daughter will thrive. She keeps me in grace and in believing that miracles are possible.

The Sleep Ingredient

“The needs of the body are the needs of the divine spirit which lives through the body.” BKS Iyengar

In Ayurveda (see Caraka samhita Su 11:53) there are three things needed to support life: food, sex, and sleep. When you have too much or too little of any or all of these there is imbalance. Sleep is the missing ingredient for so many of us. For some of us it’s due to our hectic non-stop lifestyles, chemical imbalances, stress, or in my case a 15-month old. We can’t take a pill to make up for sleepless nights. We can’t buy back our mitochondria, or buy new adrenals. Once it’s gone it’s gone. Sleep is an essential ingredient and without it everything is affected. We need sleep to rejuvenate, function, heal, and to replenish ourselves.

Sleeping hasn’t been something I can do well. I like late nights, and late mornings. My daughter apparently follows the same schedule. She doesn’t sleep. I have tried almost everything. She wakes up every 2-3 hours. Everyone tells you it gets better and then proceeds to give you more advice. She won’t sleep in her crib because she has associated it with being in the hospital, and sleeping with us seems like a better option. It is only when you meet someone else whose 15-month old doesn’t sleep that you get some sort of reassurance that you are not the only parent awake all night.

Since I don’t sleep much through the night, I have realized how imbalancing this can be for me and anyone else who has a hard time sleeping through the night. You lose touch with your own practice and yourself, your mood and emotional state changes, you become more vulnerable and susceptible to illness, and you go to vices like coffee and chocolate to function. Most days, I wonder how I actually function and think that it has a lot to do with my practice and an instinct that kicks on biologically when you are a mother.

I have incorporated some ways to stay grounded during this process of sleeplessness and new motherhood.

  1. Routine. I’m not a routine person, but need routine. Going to bed at a set time keeps me from staying up until 12:30am writing.
  2. Abhyanga (oil massage). This is a deeply relaxing ayurvedic practice that calms my nervous system instantly.
  3. Sitting in meditation for 5-10 minutes every morning. If I can practice asana or pranayama, I practice for at least 20 minutes daily.
  4. Not eating chocolate. I love chocolate. Yet, it keeps me ungrounded throughout the day. Chocolate increases every constitution. Also, not eating too many carbs or sugars to keep me fueled helps. Instead, I reach for protein.
  5. Perspective. My daughter will only be 15-months old once and so I sacrifice my sleep so that she receives exactly what she needs at 2am.  I have found that mantra at 2am works and knowing that the sleepless moments will pass.
  6. Finding moments to rest and take a break throughout the day. When you don’t sleep at some point during the day you completely crash. This is the time to stop and relax if you can.
  7. Acupuncture. I love acupuncture. I go right into a deep sleep for an hour.
  8. Avoid taking sleep medicine, it will only make you feel groggy and doesn’t solve the problem.
  9. Restorative yoga and or yoga nidra. This is a way to reset your body and heal by practicing asanas that are restorative in nature. Yoga nidra is yoga sleep. You put your body into a mindful state of sleep, where you can recuperate from a sleepless night.
  10. Surrender and let go.