Living naturally, most of the time.

Lukewarm on/in spring

Dear Spring, This is difficult to say, but I’m no longer sure that I love you. We’ve had some amazing times together, I know. And I have always loved your greeny-gold and that feeling of newness you bring with you. But lately things have just been too up and down. The temperature, for one. The older I get, the harder a time I have with so much inconsistency. There’s a lot of unpredictability in my life, and yours is getting a little hard to take. I need some reliability. This roller-coaster style of yours also encroaches into other areas that are also getting cluttered and tiring in a way they weren’t years ago. There are all the sports that are dependent on the weather such that I plan the entire weekend around them and then, bam, all bets are off and I can no longer do one of the three things I would have wanted to do instead if my son didn’t have to be at Little League and his dad wasn’t playing Ultimate Frisbee. It’s not even just the weather in the moment, either. It could be the soaking rain from the day before. Don’t try to tell me the past is in the past. Only if it’s artificial turf! (Well, the baseball fields are a little more forgiving than the soccer and Ultimate, but you still never really know just how much one patch of earth can hold.) Of course one of the things everyone loves about you is the growth you bring. People feed off of you, quite literally. It’s exciting. And delicious! But damn if it isn’t a lot of work. I’m overwhelmed just looking at the garden and the green things that came up practically overnight and wondering where I should focus my energy so I can eat what is good, ditch what is depleting, and ensure I don’t let too much go and then become overrun with more than I can handle. Ain’t that always the case? Also, you ask a lot. The fundraisers! The field trips! The amount of time I’m spending volunteering in some way or another with my children’s school seems to be outpacing the amount of time I spend with them. Yes, you give, but you take a lot too. And this may sound harsh, but you really are toxic. I mean all that green pollen dust coating cars and infiltrating noses. And the exhaust from construction vehicles (I know, winter hurt your roads something serious this year. But still.)...

Grounding in fall

This fall I have noticed the leaves without trying so hard and have immersed myself in a lot of interesting activities that seemed to land in my lap. I have been so many great talks and events, and I’ve wanted to write thoughtful and helpful recaps of all of them for my website, Mindful Healthy Life. I’ve drafted some and a few are just ideas and bullets on my “to write” list. Added into the mix are several guest posts, each needing additions or writing tweaks or photos or any number of things. While I’ve kept up the site and expanded its listings, I haven’t yet moved super close to turning it into a business. I’ve been working to stay healthy this fall, and then visited my mom, whose health is struggling, and then came back and had to take care of a child who got a cough and fever a few days after I returned. For a bit there, I cursed my fate: Whenever I go away, someone gets sick. But this time it wasn’t even a selfish choice to disappear to write or go to something for me: it was to honor my ill mother’s request to spend time with her. My normal cycle of self-flagellation got at least a little disrupted. And so did my sleep, but more than a little. Being awake two or three times a night with a coughing and feverish four-year-old in a steamy shower with essential oils and Maty’s natural vapor rub and Chestal was enough to throw me off kilter, even without the things I was supposed to be doing when I expected she’d be at school. It was the week I was supposed to help organize the farm-to-school visit with our school’s — her and her brother’s school’s — new farm partnership. I  had to cover the morning so my colleague and friend could go to her regular job and return for the afternoon shift when I would be heading out to the Freedom for Family Wellness Summit to hear the first day of speakers and then set up the table for Holistic Moms Network. Not with a sick kid, I wouldn’t. None of it. My husband had used up his work-from-home card — and even a day off — while I was gone to see my mom and dad. Plus, it was a busier week. There was no one I could call to come sit with my daughter while she was ill. It was just me. So I spent...

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...

Special Needs Mommy

You know that kid who’s always a handful at a playdate? The one who needs an extra eye at a birthday party? The one who can’t handle surprises, or who needs lots of support through transitions? The one who can’t tolerate the smell at the farm field trip no matter how many times the teacher assures that it just takes some getting used to. The one who hasn’t been through Child Find or gotten an IEP but about whom everybody would agree that there are some special needs? That child is me. I am that high maintenance mommy. You might argue that I’ve been an adult for over 20 years and that I ought to have really grown out of this by now. On the contrary, I grew into it until I was nearly 31 and started making diet and lifestyle changes. It’s only been 10 years since then, and there is still a lot to undo. As I’ve been reminded lately, I can be feeling calm and centered one day, but things quickly get ugly things when I run out of two or more ingredients in the complicated cocktail that is my prescription for balanced living. My liver is so tired I can’t turn to any of the short-term fixes other people might, including sugar, caffeine, chocolate or alcohol, much less antidepressants. I’m sure that pills saved my life in the past, but they are just not an option for a body that can’t tolerate eating anything out of a box without consequence or walking into a public bathroom when it’s being cleaned or hugging a friend who wears perfume. So instead of heading to the pharmacy every month, this is what I need on a regular basis to stay stable: a super clean diet almost exclusively homemade (free of gluten, dairy, soy, corn, and sugar for sure. The jury is still out about grains, greens high in oxalic acid, occasional fruit, nuts, and eggs) uninterrupted sleep, starting before 10 p.m. time before my kids get up to do yoga and/or exercise at least a little time alone to write, work, process and clean a house whose clutter is at least off to the side a routine that has some level of consistency an environment free of mold, synthetic perfumes and chemicals some kind of thought-provoking and/or soul uplifting input like music, NPR, or quality film or TV meaningful interactions with other people and a sense of contribution some kind of supportive health modality each week or two time to...

Finding space for moving pieces

I appreciate that parenting is an amazing opportunity for personal growth, but I kind of feel like my psyche is about to explode. I can’t say that it’s my brain, because that would imply a boast about smartifying, which I’m decidedly not. And I can’t say that it’s my heart exactly, because it’s not the case that I’m becoming one big tub of endless love. I do picture something growing many sizes in a short period time, like the Grinch’s heart bursting to boing that day it grows three sizes in as many seconds. But I picture that expansion as something more like a ball of light zapping away in a glass globe, the kind of thing you’d have seen at The Sharper Image in 1989. Call me a kooky New Age freak, but that’s how it feels to have been in transition like this, to sense my innards as evolving with electricity as my children grow and develop and our family life changes. So much has been opened to me in the decade since a thyroid disorder derailed my plans to conceive and required me to slow down – and cut down – in order to make space for a baby.   That theme continues. Now that my son is approaching his eighth birthday, we are literally trying to create space in his mouth with an orthodontic appliance called an ALF. Part of it is genetics: in addition to the fact that his mom has a totally asymmetrical face and small mouth, his dad had eight teeth removed and then braces, interventions he now thinks were ill-advised. My husband been using a palate expander for the past two years to try to address some of the issues he thinks all that work caused. The ALF is a gentler version of the same concept: help to create space between the teeth through consistent and light pressure and then you won’t have to remove teeth or use braces, at all or for not as long. Those exert a tremendous force that we’re hoping to avoid for my sensitive little guy.   It’s not just aesthetic, this approach to working with the body instead of against it. Your nose wants your palate to be wide enough for good air flow. The jaw is connected to posture and hip alignment. The pituitary gland behind the nose and eyes wants enough space to properly regulate growth. It’s all connected, the structure and then how the structure impacts our senses and our moods.  ...

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