Living naturally, most of the time.

Lab report & retort

If you don’t think blood test results from the lab are super exciting, I get it. It’s not like I expected to be distracted the entire afternoon by their bolded “high” numbers. I would have preferred to actually look at my children, to attend to them instead of breaking the rules about no screen time on weekdays, to go about my dinner-making while chatting with them (though if you have to cheat, Mr. Rogers is still the bomb), I wish I had more patience with them toward bedtime but glad I found a little once it was finally upon us. Hugs do good work. I have an annoyed husband in the other room who had a rough day and would like some attention, but I felt compelled to document this nonsense, to call in my health-minded troops and ask them to help me figure out WTF? What do I do with this info? I can’t imagine cooking more than I do now or doing anything better or more than I do now and yet I don’t know what these might suggest is lurking around the corner. Maybe these labs don’t say a whole lot, but there’s not some kind of cause for celebration, either. There’s a whole lot of I Don’t Know. Of course I will discuss them with my doctor, probably sooner than the appointment we had already set up. But until then, I really felt seeing if anyone could give me some insight, including asking me what I should ask her. For some background: I’d been feeling a lot better for a while, probably in part from the methylation support since that started in summer, some from some targeted essential oil use, and certainly some from taking a natural antiviral to combat the reactivated Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) that was discovered in September. For more details on all this and my supplement regime and diet, see this post. But I still have evidence of inflammation, including psoriasis patches that keep me from loving summer (shorts, chlorine), and that’s even on a very anti-inflammatory diet and with pretty decent sleep and other self-care. No, I’m not meditating every day, but I am doing yoga most days and have gone to a lot more classes in the past two months than I have in years. Considering how much depression I’ve been through in the past few years, and even in February/March, I had remarkably good spring, weathering Mercury Retrograde and my son waking with a cough most nights for about...

What would “success” look like

Today I was challenged to define success. This was at the end of a networking meeting, and I was spinning my wheels about what I’m trying to achieve with Mindful Healthy Life vs. what seems realistically possible given the commitments I have to my health, to my family, and to my community. Well, that was what was in my head. What was coming out was really about money, that I want to at least earn enough to pay back what we (read: my husband) invested in the site: site design, lawyer fees, ongoing site maintenance, marketing materials and any other money I spend in the name of starting a business or being a writer, like conference registrations and membership in networking groups. These are things people don’t do if they are content being a career volunteer or health enthusiast, but they do do if they hope to build something that will be … successful. So what does success mean to me? It’s a great question. At the time, I answered it as someone who wants a career beyond mothering. I want to write a book, novel. I want other people to read that book of fiction and for it to enrich their lives. I also want to share information and insights and to make a positive difference in other people’s lives. This I can do, if I do it well and have a “successful” site that people actually go to. And that “success” – eyeballs, clicks, ideally ad/sponsor/affiliate income – would reflect positively on me and on my prospects for selling a book. (A book I would have to somehow find the time to actually write.) These lovely women also asked about whether managing a team was something I really wanted to do, and if I could be clearer about my expectations of others. I explained that I have enough loose ends of my own to make it hard for me to expect other people to tie theirs up neatly in bows. But why is that? Because I just don’t have enough time? So maybe when I will have more time, they started. I cut in with the truth I resist: I will never have more time. Sure, I act like I will. I tell myself every day that if I could just have a few uninterrupted days or a weekend away or a weekend home alone with the kids gone, then I could get done all this writing that I honestly really want to do. And I could make the space...

Missing the moment, and then not

When I saw the other parents in the room at my daughter’s last dance class of the session, I froze. What were they all doing in there? I was supposed to be on a phone call! I mean, I could have figured we might be invited in at the end of class, but from the first moment? My first reaction was annoyance, and it lasted further into the class than I am happy to admit. I quickly messaged the person I was supposed to interview, who was gracious, all full of “LOL” and “no problem.” I figured that, as a mom, she would get it. But still! I really wanted to get that interview done so that I could finally finish the piece the following morning. I didn’t want to wait until later because the afternoon was busy and the day after that was slammed. If there’s anything that messes up trying to be working-at-home-mom, it’s improper sequencing! It wasn’t just frustration about missing the call, or me being caught of guard. It was my daughter also being caught off guard – the two of us together. I would have liked to prepare my daughter for my presence in the class. She was kind of a mess, so darn excited that I was there! She kept getting distracted from the teacher’s directions, looking over at me, mouthing “video” so I would record her. I was embarrassed. Then, the second time she came over to hug me, smile beaming, I caught myself. Why am I sitting her annoyed at my daughter’s joy? Am I really going to look back on this 45 minutes and be glad that I was pissed off, or will I wish I just enjoyed it? Shit, she’s only five. She’s not going to be this blissfully happy and open forever. And right now she is actually Glad. To. Have. Me. Here. She is happy to be in this moment, even if she wasn’t expecting it. Why can’t I join her there? It struck me that this, in fact, is my practice. The call I was supposed to have was with the founder of the National Kids Yoga Conference so that I could finally write a recap of the amazing weekend she organized November 13-15. The non-profit organization she co-founded is YoKid, which is all about giving children the tools to live a mindful life. And here I was making that life wrong. “Was there an email about this?” I had asked the woman next to me,...

What I wish for my daughter on her fourth birthday

My daughter is about to turn four. Her grandparents are asking what they can get for her. The question has made me feel hollow and heavy at the same time.   I don’t feel like I can give her the things I really, truly want her to have.   She is a hilarious and fascinating little being who has a lot to offer the world. She is not lacking for personality or joy. I am, generally speaking, providing a decent existence for her. Her smile shines. But at the same time, there are so many fronts on which I feel I’m missing the mark. Modeling is key for children, and the values I hold dear are not getting conveyed to my daughter by the way I am currently being. I wish I knew how to give her what I want.   I want her to feel intimately grounded and connected to nature. I want to her be filled with a sense of wonder. I want her sense of magic to overrule a need for limits. I want her sense of inner peace to be a mooring set so deeply that she can always find her way back. I want her to feel like there will always be enough time. I want her to trust that it will all work out. I want her to believe in the possibility of a long-lasting, loving partnership. I want her to know how to give and accept help. I want her to grow within a stable, supportive, and connected family. I want her internal rhythm to be balanced and solid. I want her to delight in following and creating traditions. I want her default switch to be set to content. I want her to have respect for fear but to choose love.   I want her to be healthy and strong. These gifts I would buy with my soul. Bookmark on DeliciousDigg this postRecommend on Facebookshare via RedditShare with StumblersTweet about itSubscribe to the comments on this...

The importance of laughter

This post is part of the first Humor in Parenting (and Breastfeeding!) Blog Carnival inspired by the anthology Have Milk, Will Travel: Adventures in Breastfeeding, a collection edited by Rachel Epp Buller and published by Demeter Press in August 2013. The anthology looks at the lighter side of nursing. All of its contributors found something funny to say about their days as a non-stop milk shop, even if it was a tough job to have. This carnival celebrates the craziness that is parenting and asks the question of how we use humor to get through our days, or minutes, or years. Just what’s so funny about being a parent? And why is it so important to make life with kids funny even when it doesn’t exactly seem hilarious? Please share widely and connect us with other funny parents who are blogging and Tweeting. Use the hashtags #funnybreastfeeding and #humorcarnival along with whatever witty originals you come up with. Those ought to be worth some laughs, too! See below for links to the other contributors. And, as you might have said to your nursling once upon a time, enjoy the buffet! *** When I first thought we’d have a blog carnival around the publication of Have Milk, Will Travel, I figured I might write about what happened after my son weaned at three (see my essay in the book about that excerpted at Mothering.com) or how different things were nursing my daughter, who came along a year later but weaned at 22 months. But since the carnival is about humor more than it is about straight up breastfeeding, I’ve been trying to think of something new and hilarious but am coming up empty. Kind of like my boobs have been for a year and a half. It occurs to me just how much my outlook on things changed the second time around the parenting block. It has been both harder and more important to laugh. When I had my son seven and a half years ago, I was determined to stay upbeat and not teach him that life was one big downer. I read books like Playful Parenting and How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen before he could even walk. I did everything I could to avoid snapping or saying “No,” and all these efforts did often help me stay positive. Sometimes faking it is half the battle. I really felt like I was learning how to be a reasonably fun person just so I wouldn’t screw him...

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