March 23, 2018

Never Let'em See You Stop



As a young child, elementary school age, I distinctly remember a teacher telling a student that she needed to keep going and stop complaining. I wasn't the one being reprimanded but I heard and listened. I didn't like to be singled out and noticed and keep going and stop complaining was a great way to remain anonymous if done correctly. And wow, I really learned to do it correctly. I embraced multitasking. I could always add another project to my plate even if it was overflowing. I learned that sleep was for idlers. I could stay up longer and later and get everything done. In college, I was able to carry a larger than normal credit load (I switched majors after 2 years and had to catch up to graduate in 3 years instead of 4), work a lot, and maintain a relationship with my boyfriend (now husband). I kept going and felt guilty if I complained. I very rarely said no to adding anything new because I believed I could do it all.

When my daughters were young, I traded volunteering for working but took it on as a full time job. I joined every group and then quickly got onto the executive committee or as close as I could. I attended every general meeting and every event and every committee meeting and every executive meeting and every class and every informational session and at times began to feel used up and exhausted. But keep going and stop complaining was so deeply inside me that I never even thought of doing it another way even though this attitude was beginning to take its toll.  

When my son was born, my daughters were in preschool and I added in PTA meetings and room mother responsibilities.And now that they were older, we also had to add in extracurricular activities and weekend birthday parties. The weekends were now full. Juggle, organize, keep going, and never complain. Time passed and I kept going. Eli turned one and as his birthday passed I developed a kidney infection. I had two in the past. One when my oldest was 2 months old and one when my second was 6 months. I didn't really think too much about it. I was busy juggling, keeping going, and maybe occasionally minimally complaining.

I didn't think about the fact that the kidney straddles the sacral chakra and the solar plexus chakra. It never entered my thoughts that these energy centers in the body could be blocked and that my body was trying to tell me something. And then I got a second kidney infection and then another and then another. There would be 17 in all before the year was over. After the fourth, my body had my attention.  I tried all the natural things and it took the edge off but I kept going and only slowed enough to have my appointments. I attended meetings, events, activities, and more and kept going.

The infections kept coming and I looked to conventional medicine to no avail. The process was slowed but the infections kept coming. Every natural and conventional practitioner gave it their all. I was told that everything looked perfect, my organs weren't scarred and looked pristine, and that they weren't sure how to help. But I was getting sicker. I finally started to get the message. Keeping going was getting harder. Fevers of 105 were taking their toll and I knew I had to find another path. 

I acknowledged that the kidneys did straddle the second and third chakra. I looked closer and realized that when  the second was out of balance it showed up as a lack of well being and when the third was out of balance it showed up as an inability to maintain boundaries. And both presented as illness in the bladder/kidney. WOW! I began to assess my priorities and recognized that I came first and my family came second and that many of the jobs that I had taken on needed to be delegated elsewhere. As I decluttered my mind and personal space the infections slowed and with just the right combination of self care DAILY and healing modalities, the infections stopped.

I began to notice those around me and realized that the mantra Keep Going and Stop Complaining is firmly ingrained in many people. It is destroying us. It is destroying our personal health and ability to be present for ourselves and others. It is definitely okay to say "NO, I can't do that". It is okay to say "My plate is full". It is okay to say "I'm not doing that today. I'm taking care of my needs". It's okay to say "I'm able to only do three things today. The others can wait till tomorrow". We need to ask for help. We need to OFFER help. We are allowed to complain if the job is too much. We MUST listen to complaints without judgement and acknowledge that some jobs are too much for one person. We don't have to do it all. We can't do it all. We need to once again be a community not a group of loners living in the same community. It is time for Keep Going and Stop Complaining to disappear and never be heard from again.


February 26, 2018

Bring On The Heat


I always loved the idea of self care, the idea that attending to my needs and consciously taking care of myself is valuable. I loved the idea of blocking out time just for me to heal, grow, refresh, and relax. I would look longingly at others who mastered the task. I would marvel at their ability to disconnect from society and connect to self. It was a lovely concept but foreign to me. When I received a gift certificate for a massage from a client after a long challenging birth, I decided to stick my toe into the self care arena. It was the perfect time to try. I was tired and ready to be refreshed. I was really anxious as the hour for the appointment approached. I wasn't able to rest completely. I kept worrying that someone was in labor and trying to reach me (no one was) and that I was going to miss their birth. But it felt good, refreshing even, and reminded me that I needed to take care of myself to be whole enough to take care of others. At first, I took baby steps, a pedicure here, a facial there, a massage here, a pilates class there. And then I ran, making sure to self care at least once but usually two or three times a week. Sometimes it meant a 15 min tea break with my phone in the other room. Sometimes it was a 2 mile walk while listening to a podcast. Sometimes it was a 60 minute massage. And sometimes it was a 20 minute power nap. I learned to self care emotionally, socially, psychologically, spiritually, and physically. 
And then one day after going down many self care rabbit holes, I discovered the ultimate self care ritual, peristeam hydrotherapy. It connected me on all levels. Peristeam hydrotherapy (aka vaginal steaming) is the therapeutic use of steam for healing and maintaining the perineum and internal and external reproductive organs. I started experimenting. I kept trying different protocols until I found the perfect combination for me. My twice a month 30 minute steam kept me toned, strengthened, happy, and relaxed. I loved it so much and got such good results that I began sharing with others. And they got good results. I would follow the therapeutic protocols and they got good results. The benefits I see include:

  • Cleansing the uterus
  • Stabilizing fertility
  • Preventing and correcting prolapse
  • Reducing fibroids, cysts, and growths
  • Eliminating cramps and uterine pain
  • Treating infections (UTI, yeast, bacterial)
  • Promoting a "perfect" period
  • Balancing hormones
  • Increasing circulation
  • Reducing bloating
  • Tightening the skin
  • Returning the postpartum body to the prepregnant state
  • Bringing the body into harmony with nature
And there are many more benefits. I am witnessing healing, cleansing, toning, reducing, balancing, and returning weekly. And it's the perfect way to teach about self care. It happens regularly and you can't do anything but relax while partaking in your steam. Participating in self care is my way to remain whole. And when I'm whole, I can care for others. And when others are cared for, they can be whole. And when they are whole, they can care for others. And the positive cycle repeats. 
Find your self care ritual and embrace your whole. And if steaming appeals to you, reach out. We can develop a steaming protocol that meets your individual needs and enhances your self care. We should all be whole!

February 3, 2018

Now You're Green



I was yellow. I was born yellow. I lived yellow. Yellow is the "I" color. The color of personal power. The color of strength and stamina. Yellow is joy, happiness, and cheerfulness. It is the color of the third chakra, the solar plexus. The chakra of personal strength, learning, and comprehension. The area of ourselves where a strong sense of self, self esteem, and willpower grow. The ability to bring change into your life and into the world is born within the yellow. 


Danny was blue. Danny was born blue. He lived blue. Blue is the "You" color. The color of the desire for harmony, tranquility, and peace. Blue is introspection, thoughtfulness, and trust. It is the color of the fifth chakra, the throat. The chakra of communication and rational explanation. The area of ourselves where we find the courage to stand by our opinions and give truth expression. The ability to bring truth as a vehicle for change is born in the blue.


But now we are green. We were reborn green. We live green. Green is a combination of blue and yellow, offering the personal power of yellow mixed with the peace and tranquility of blue. I'm not sure when I first recognized the color change. It happened slowly, so slowly that the transition to green was complete before I even noticed. Did it start the first time he made me laugh? The first time he held my hand? The first kiss? The first time he brought me tea when I was sick? Our wedding?  Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes! Green is the color of the fourth chakra, the heart chakra. The chakra of limitless compassion, empathy, and love. The area of ourselves that embraces vulnerability, unconditional love, and deep connection. The I and the You become the We! The color change happened slowly but I have no desire to only be yellow again. Happy Anniversary baby! Here's to 30 more!


"All your life you're yellow. Then one day you brush up against something blue, the barest touch, and voila, the rest of your life you're green."   Tess Callahan, author, painter, teacher, and mother of twins

January 30, 2018

Gam Ze L'Tovah


Yes, it's a foot. In fact, it's my foot. It's my foot adorned with a tattoo. I love my tattoo. I didn't think I would ever get one. My body was an "unblemished temple" and I couldn't imagine putting a permanent mark anywhere on my body. It was ultimately a swift 180 degree turn when the time came. 
In 2014, I decided I needed to have a daily affirmation to help me remember purpose and plan. My daily affirmation became Gam Ze L'Tovah. Gam Ze L'Tovah in English means This Too Is For The Good. I chanted and repeated and chanted and repeated but it just wasn't enough. One morning I awoke with a half remembered dream, a dream of art, color, memory, and joy, a dream where The words Gam Ze L'Tovah surrounded, encircled, and danced around my body. At that moment, I knew that I needed to put my affirmation on my body, in a place where it would be seen by me and others daily. 
But why Gam Ze L'Tovah? What does it mean to me?

  • This Too Is For The Good-I truly believe that even in my darkest moments, light exists. I truly believe that even when my heart aches there is something good brewing, something that will change me or someone else in the process or even change process.
  • This Too Is For The Good-I truly believe that I am only given what I can handle. Sometimes I don't handle. Sometimes I sit and do nothing and nothing changes and nothing gets better. But when I look and focus and remember Gam Ze L'Tovah and I stand tall, I Can Handle, even if it looks totally different than I expected.
  • This Too Is For The Good-I truly believe that hindsight is sometimes the best sight. There may be no understanding of the why in the moment. It may only become clear as time passes. It may only make sense when we are older and look back. I use my affirmation as a way to surrender, as a reminder that purpose and plan may not be immediately evident.
Every morning when I shower and put on my shoes, I see these words painted quite beautifully on my left foot. They remind me to center, focus, and approach each moment with the belief that whatever happens, Gam Ze L'Tovah!

January 21, 2018

Transformation?



The word change as a verb means make or become different. As a noun it means the act or instance of making or becoming different. What does that mean exactly? Does that mean that the simplest change will transform me, that I will become different? I pondered this question at length. First, I thought about the big things that transformed me, the things I can easily say happened and I became different.

  • I left a small town in Indiana, Elwood to be exact, and moved to the metropolis of Miami. I would never be the same. I learned that it's possible to live in a place and be anonymous. It's possible to be alone when surrounded by others. I learned what the word stranger really means. And it was exhilarating and refreshing.
  • I walked into a synagogue and realized that my soul had always been Jewish. I would never be the same. The bits and pieces of my childhood religion that didn't make sense to me were the bits and pieces that didn't exist in Judaism. My heart opened, every piece fell into place, and I soared.
  • I had a home birth, a birth that instantly confirmed that I too wanted to follow in the footsteps of every birth attendant that came before me. I would never be the same. I could feel this aching in my bones. I waited patiently until my children grew and the time was right and midwifery school made sense. I ran and jumped and practically somersaulted into my new life.

Then there are the things that at first look seemed to be everyday and ordinary but in the end I definitely became different.

  • I walked into a party and met a funny man and that was that. I left. We didn't exchange numbers. We didn't plan coffee or tea. We didn't make a date. Nothing. But several weeks later when he tracked me down and asked me out, I would never be the same. I never looked back. We will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary in February.
  • When I had small children at home, I volunteered as a La Leche League leader. I answered multiple calls a day. Many calls were similar and sometimes I felt as if I was just reading from a script and not making much of a difference. I never knew the outcome. I saw a snippet of their lives and usually never heard back from them. Fast forward to the checkout line in Publix. As I was talking to the cashier, the person behind me asked, "Are you Mary Harris?". When I said yes, she said she recognized my voice and that my words helped her through a very hard time. I would never be the same. Even the smallest words can make a difference.
  • A friend asked me to speak about midwifery at a career fair at the local elementary school. I talked to many different classes that day. The talks were short. There were a few questions, the kids moved on and another group sat down. Some of them were collecting business cards. They turned it into a game and were trading them as if they were gold. I had fun and the day ended. Two years later, I received a phone call from someone requesting an interview appointment. When at my office I was shown a ragged old A Loving Start business card. I was told that the business card was pulled from the drawer in the child's room by loving hands. The card was handed over with these words, " I think this will be the best for you and the baby". I would never be the same. Even our littlest ears can hear.
Then there are the "ordinary" things we do. The things that allow us to grow and become different and transform slowly, constantly, and continually each and every day.

  • Every time you hold a child's hand you grow.
  • Every time you bring soup to a sick friend you become different.
  • Every time you hold your words, take a deep breath, and speak patiently you are transformed.
After all this pondering, yes, I do believe the simplest change will and does transform me and I do believe that I will and do become different. Right now I'm taking a moment just before sleep to look through my entire day and acknowledge the obvious, the not so obvious, and the ordinary moments that transformed me and made me different today.

January 20, 2018

Good Midwestern Stock



I've been thinking a lot about my grandma these last few nights since Friday night was the anniversary of her death. She lived to a ripe old age of 97. She was feisty, fantastic, and I loved her dearly.
My Great Grandma Nancy Ellen Elizabeth Owen Georgel (wow, so many names) was born in 1901 in a small midwestern town where she was the eldest of 7 daughters. The same small town where her family had lived for generations. It was a very different world, an extremely different world. When she was born :

  • there were few cars. The Ford Model T wasn't mass produced until 1908.
  • there were no passenger planes. The first demonstration flight occurred in 1914.
  • there was no phone in her house. Most households didn't have phones until after 1907.
  • there was no penicillin. Its antibiotic properties weren't recognized until 1928 and it wasn't commercially available until 1938.  
And:

  • the Civil War was a recent memory to her elders. It had just ended on May 13, 1865.
  • World War I hadn't happened yet. It lasted from July 28,1914 - November 11, 1918.
  • the Great Depression wouldn't come until 1929.
  • World War II was a far off conflict that wouldn't start until September 1, 1939.

She also:

  • buried three of her four adult children before she died.
  • lived to have great great grandchildren.
  • traveled the US picking fruit and veggies off and on from age 57-62.
  • watched her great granddaughter graduate from college, something she wasn't able to do because of family beliefs and circumstances.
 The world changed around her and she embraced it. Being of good midwestern stock, she stayed strong and persevered. She kept going and rocked on. I think of her strength and my grandma's strength and mom's strength every time a challenge comes my way. I own my good midwestern stock and rock on. Every change and every challenge is a reminder that historically we are strong in my matriarchy and that CHANGE is just an invitation to grow.

January 19, 2018

Why so many changes?



Well, here it goes. My very first post. Not my very first post of 2018. My very first post ever. I'm always a little skittish about putting my feelings into writing but decided this was a good year to start. I decided to take the bull by the horns and make some changes I want this year. The last few years have been full of challenges beyond my control and even though I'm sure I will be brought more of these challenges I am embracing change in a proactive way.  So many changes have occurred already.

I have done all of this in an attempt to get my voice heard. A way to be an advocate, an educator, and a teacher and in the process I know I will learn from others and grow. I hope to inspire and be inspired, to teach and be taught, and to give and to receive. I am looking forward to sharing with you as each new change happens. I hope to embrace each one with zest and gusto and come out a CHANGED person on the other side.

Come celebrate with me on Sunday January 28th from 3-6 at Wynwood Yard. We are coming together to celebrate the launch of my new website with music, good food, and great company.