Well loves, the time has come. This book is going to mark the end of my Blogiversary celebration. I sure had fun, I hope you did too! This book is such a gem. It is actually been a couple of years since I read it, but I was skimming through tonight and reading pages that I had flagged (they're still marked!) and there is so much wisdom in in this little book. I mentioned earlier this year that finding unschooling was one of the biggest awakenings of my life. If that statement is confusing or intriguing to you and you want to know more, this book will answer a lot of your questions. Rue Kream organized Parenting a Free Child: An Unschooled Life in a very reader friendly way. Each chapter is actually a short essay that answers a typical question or concern regarding unschooling.
The first page of the Contents, to give you an idea of the format and what types of questions are answered
I want to quickly share a couple of my favorite quotes from the book.When asked if she could play a song on the radio on her guitar, Rue's daughter said, "I could if I knew how" (p 7). I love this! How confident the child is in her own ability to learn what she wants when she wants to, so beautiful.I also love Rue's response to the question, "Don't you ever have a bad day?""Unschooling does not make us more than human. Striving to be a peaceful parent does not make me a perfect parent." (p 112)All I can say to that is, Amen!This book gives perspective on so many issues from why in their family (and many unschooling families) they choose not to limit TV and screen time, and how and when children learn to read, to concerns about children getting into college and chores. It really covers a lot of ground in a concise and clear manner. Sooo.... whether you are interested in learning more about unschooling or if you are already unschooling but need a shot of inspiration and confidence, this is a great book.Leave me a comment if you want to be in the drawing for this awesome book! And if you share the love by liking my FB page, or by sharing the link on your blog or FB page I'll add your name an extra time for each bit of extra love you give me. ;-)Lots of Love and Peace to you all tonight...
Besides my first giveaway, all the give aways celebrating my Blogiversary have been personal copies of books I love. Also, if you've been paying attention closely you may have noticed that the books have followed my path as a parent from Natural Family Planning and Breastfeeding, and Natural Child Birth, to Elimination Communication. This weeks giveaway ties all of these things together neatly in a pretty bow. This week I'm giving away Mayim Bialik's book, Beyond the Sling: A real-life guide to raising confident, loving children the attachment parenting way.I bought this book mostly because I love Mayim Bialik. Honestly, I didn't "need" it. By the time I read it I had two natural births, been breastfeeding for over 5 1/2 years, using baby carriers with ease, sleeping with my kids for 5+ years, and had two kids out of diapers - one of which I had used the principles elimination communication part-time to achieve potty independence. Yeah, I guess I'm kind of a poster mommy for attachment parenting. But what intrigues me about Mayim Bialik (besides that I loved the show Blossom) is all that I have in common with her. We are approximately the same age, went to school in the same period of time, I was a Brain and Cognitive Science major with a concentration in neuroscience, she has her PhD in Neuroscience, we got married and had two kids (very similarly spaced) in almost the same exact span of time - it's kind of uncanny! (And yes I want to be her friend in real life. Someday.) Of course there are differences, the biggest being her family is Jewish and mine Catholic, and of course that little actress thing she does on the side. ha.So last winter when I heard that she had a book coming out about attachment parenting I was interested to read it for fun. I also had just really started to get into writing, and the thought of writing my own book seriously crossed my mind for the first time. Then I saw the Table of Contents for Beyond the Sling. Ugh. Seriously? This is TOO GOOD. Too simple and direct and so well organized. I LOVED IT already and I hadn't even gotten past the contents! But now what was *my* book going to be about?? Not to mention that it didn't seem quite fair since, you know, she's FAMOUS already.Oh well, C'est la vie. I trust that when the time comes and I am ready, my own voice and message will come out in it's own unique way. Plus, *somehow*, *someway*, I'm going to get Mayim to write a forward for my book. That will even things out!Here are a couple of my favorite quotes and passages from early in the book:What I had discovered, and what I seek to share with you, dear reader, is this: you already know the majority of what you need to know to be an incredible parent (emphasis hers). It was only when I believed this and began to apply it consistently to my growing family that my anxiety, worry, and exhaustion began to lift. It was then that I truly began to enjoy being a parent and to see myself as a successful parent; not a perfect parent, and not always the most patient parent, but a sensitive, loving, and confident person who truly loves this life I have chosen. That's really what this book is about: empowering you to make the best choices for your kids. (p 5)My kids are flawed and they make plenty of mistakes, as do I. My kids are not always polite, patient, clean, wise, and quiet; nor am I, for that matter. (p 12)I love how Mayim presents attachment parenting. She is kind about it. She does not claim to know the right way for every parent, she is only sharing what works for her family. The two examples above show how she debunks any thought of "perfection" from the first pages of the book. It's not about being perfect it's about listening to your instincts and your children. Mayim puts all kinds of myths to rest about attachment parenting to rest (ie You have to be a "martyr" to do all that stuff! Only wealthy or advantaged people can afford to parent this way. Children will be spoiled, overindulged, whiny, etc. if parented this way. etc.) Not only does she address all of these concerns, but she does so with compassion, conviction, and humor. She acknowledges that everyone in the family has needs and that there are ways to meet these needs, it just may not be the way you used to before you had children or how you imagined it would look. And the really cool part is that she puts her PhD to good use and explains the SCIENCE behind attachment and why it just makes sense to parent this way. I've barely had this book in my possession 8 months - I even mentioned it here the day I received it in the mail! Mayim's book debuted a little before the controversy stirred up by the TIME cover showing a mom breastfeeding her 3 or 4 year old son standing up (not to mention the inflammatory title, "Are you mom enough?) In a way it was good publicity for her and she handled all of the extra attention extremely well. I myself wrote about being a "Closet Lactivist" and then why I think attachment parenting is the best way to parent during this time. It's been an eventful span of time for me personally as I know it has been for her. But I'm ready to let this gem of a book go and inspire a new mom (or dad!) so that another family can benefit from all her wisdom. Leave a comment - you may win a great book! (I will also put your name in additional times if you like my Facebook page, share a link on your FB page, or share my blog giveaway on your blog - just be sure to let me know in your comment!)ps This is my used copy of the book and there are a few pages in the beginning warped by some water damage - in my pre-baby days I would have said it was from reading in the bathtub. Not likely to be the case anymore - no this time it is probably from one of many water spills that occur in our house daily! Don't worry it's still legible.
For those of you wondering, "who's that?!" Gerard Walker is Gerry's full name. As I did with Marisol's birth story last spring, I'm using my journal to write his birth story now - over 3 years after he was born! I'm sure glad I took the time after his birth to write some things down. I've also added a couple of "Hypnobabies notes" to give you my perspective now as an instructor.
Make sure you scroll ALL the way down to the end of this post, past all the cute pictures, to see what this week's give-away book is!
Here is some "stream of consciousness" about Gerry's birth - things I want to remember - in no particular order:
Thunder + lightning - here at home - more storms there (birth center) - a rainbow over the birth center (I didn't see it, but my parents got it on camera) - made me think that Gerry's birth was like the storm, and he was my rainbow at the end :)
The cable guy coming to our apartment that morning! I spent that hour or so in the shower while he did his thing... I remember Marisol poking her cute little 3 year old head into the room to reassure me, "he's almost done mama!"
Holly's (my doula) bike having a flat tire - she was still here within an hour and a half... Also I only knew Holly for less then 1 week before giving birth!
My water breaking in the tub - crazy feeling! Like something shooting out of me! And then it got CRAZY... I think he came out within 15 minutes or so after that. It was so intense.
Marisol in the room with Mike while I pushed Gerry out! Pushing him out on all fours - Gerry being passed to me through my legs and me getting to see him and proclaim, "It's a boy!"
Marisol and I hanging out during my Birthing time, the morning of Gerry's birth
More random thoughts:
"TIMING IS EVERYTHING"
I said this in the car on the way to the birth center... in between intense waves - in reference to Marisol sleeping - she had a solid 2 hour nap in the car - First Mike and she went to get my parents a parking pass, while Hollly was with me at home and she fell asleep. (Hypnobabies note: One of my anxieties/fears during the pregnancy was how Marisol would be taken care of during my birthing time. Two things were very helpful - the Visualization script - I imagined the time of day my birthing would start, how long it would last, who would be there, the help of my doula, and my parents arriving - it all happened almost exactly as I visualized! The second is the Fear Clearing track - it is an amazing way to let go of any worries and embrace whatever your birthing time brings.)
While they were gone Holly and I talked - I listened to the Hypnobabies a little - walked the hall with my phone tucked into my gym shorts waist band (My hypnosis tracks were on my phone)... I also lay on my side while Holly pushed/massaged my back. She did my upper legs a little too while I sat on the birth ball. I didn't use the birth ball nearly as much this time - I actually did lie down on my side a lot this time. Maybe because it was faster, maybe because of all my practice relaxing with Hypnobabies while I went to sleep.
While Holly and I worked together... this was when there was a storm... Holly mentioned that it made her think of good luck and I said I liked it too...
Holly thought we should call the midwives again to check in. I talked to Ebony... she said, "sounds like those contractions are kickin' your butt" or something like that (Hypnobabies Note: This is the kind of thing that we hope care providers avoid saying to mamas! The more your careprovider knows about hypnosis, expectations, the power of our minds etc. the better! Inform them so they know suggesting what a mother is experiencing is very powerful - so make sure to make those suggestions POSITIVE! But for the record, I LOVED Ebony and the other midwives, just noting this probably wasn't the best thing for me to hear at that moment!)
I replied something to the extent that, "nah, I'm tough..." I still wasn't sure if we should go in yet - it didn't seem like the waves were getting longer - they had been ~ 3 minutes apart for a while - but I still felt like I was "doing ok" through them.
This was key - Ebony asked if I felt any rectal pressure and I said no. She said if I was still working through them ok we could/should stay home a little longer/as long as possible.
I'm not sure how much longer it was, but it didn't seem like much longer... I told Holly I thought we should get the car packed up. I asked if they were closer or longer - and she didn't think so. I told her they felt different and she said I seemed more focused and they "sounded" different (I was feeling rectal pressure! I just decided not to tell Holly or Mike right then. I trusted my instincts, and as you will see it's a good thing we left when we did!)
I called Mike and he brought the car to the neighbor's driveway... He and Holly packed up and kept snoozin' Marisol company. Mike put Holly's bike on the car and we gathered some last minute things - we were prepared in every way except food, but grabbed some small snacks and O.J. that got us through until my parents arrived.
I knelt in the back next to Marisol - she stirred so I thought we should put a movie in. Mike wisely said she didn't need one. She proceeded to sleep the whole way to the birth center while I moaned through many waves next to her - not quietly I might add! Holly continued to massage my back as best as she could from the front seat - she was awesome (it was a packed car - we had a Prius then!)
I remember when we were almost there - on H st. - peeking out the window from my kneeling position. It was an interesting perspective - the world at an angle, the sidewalk and storefronts at eye-level and seeing lots of lights in the gray day. The images have stayed with me very clearly as part of my birthing time memories.
I shuffled into the birth center with the help of Holly, I think Mike carried Marisol. You could tell that people were happy and excited to see us... Ebony and Kandace took me to an exam room. Kandace was finishing her midwifery training and she did everything pretty much - she was great - calm and reassuring. She checked me and said she thought I was 7 cm, fully effaced (100%) and the baby was at zero station. I said something like "Thank the Lordy!" I was so happy.
I also mentioned that it doesn't necessarily "mean anything" because I was 7 cm when I arrived at the hospital with Marisol and still had hours before she came. Ebony said she didn't think so this time and I agreed. (Hypnobabies note: My two births demonstrate very well that WE DON'T GIVE BIRTH BY NUMBERS! In other words, the numbers/measurements never tell us exactly when baby will make their appearance. Also, I really did look forward to giving birth a second time because Marisol's birth was so beautiful and empowering. That being said, I did focus a lot on the affirmation that I deserved a fast, easy, comfortable birth - and it really was a lot faster the second time around! I'm sure there were many reasons for this - baby position and being my second-time too. But I know my relaxation and use of Hypnosis were also very helpful!)
Oh, also before they checked me I had a wave in the hall near the family room - I remember bending my legs a little - Ebony watched me closely and asked me after, "Are you pushing?" I answered with a definitive "No." but still hadn't mentioned the rectal pressure (I think it was more a subconscious thing at this point, I hadn't really recognized it consciously).
The time in the birth center went quickly - we were hardly there 45 minutes and Gerry was born (so I'm told!) They started a bath for me almost immediately... The bath took a while to fill up. Then it was too hot - so I sat by it naked for a few waves. Mike and Marisol were in the next room. I got in the tub and it did feel good at first. They even turned on the jets and Kandace and Ebony left.
Next thing I know my water broke during a wave - it was wild! And one of the most memorable moments. I heard it and it felt like a shot gun coming out of me... I was so surprised and told Holly right away and she went to tell Kandace and Ebony.
Within moments I was I was pushing and the midwives were there. "Can I stay in the tub? I'm pushing! Do you need to check me??" I think they laughed a little - No, if you're pushing it's ok! So I just realized, I only got "checked" one time!
Pushing Gerry out was fast and intense - completely opposite of my experience with Marisol. "Urge to push" does not even describe it - my body just took over. And the noises coming out of me - wow! I couldn't replicate it if I wanted to (although I try to in my Hypnobabies classes! haha) Marisol and Mike had to leave for a few minutes because it was too loud for her little 3 year old ears (I remember hearing her say, "it's too loud!") but they were back in the room to see Gerry make his grand entrance. I wanted to get out of the tub (I would have had him in the water if I wanted), so I made it to the bed and flopped on my side - pushed that way until the midwives suggested going on all fours - I also remember putting my hand down to feel Gerry's head.
Once on all fours I was pushing so hard they all were like, "whoa, slow down!" a couple of times and I was able to pant and slow down (afterwards they remarked how in control I was. It was a nice compliment, but I wouldn't say "in control" was exactly how I felt! I was just riding the birth super speed highway!) I could feel his head coming out but at one point asked, "What's going on?!" and Ebony was like, "you're delivering your baby!:
When he came out they passed him through my legs to me - "Take your baby!" - and I was the one who got to exclaim, "It's a boy!"
One Happy Mama
We did it! Marisol's not so sure about this whole thing though!
My parents arrived within an hour or so of Gerry being born which was good because we didn't have much to eat and I was STARVING. One of my favorite memories is eating a very soggy sub - they had left the sunroof on their van open during the storm (remember the rainbow?) Well, that was the best sandwich I ever had, rainwater and all!
Grandma gets a turn
We stayed at the birth center just about exactly four hours. Enough time for me to get cleaned up, for Gerry to get looked over, and to start nursing. We were in our own bed (ha! that's right, family of four - ONE bed!) that night by 9 pm.
Hours old and in the car ready to ride home!
The next day two midwives came to check up on Gerry and me at home. What a luxury!
Kandace, Me, Gerry, Sierra
Kandace and Gerry - I was so lucky to have such a wonderful midwife attend his birth!
And from there on out it was just us - settling into life as a family of four! Life is good.
There you have it! The birth of our little man, Gerry. This week I'm giving away the book Journey Into Motherhood. It is an awesome book filled with inspirational stories of natural child birth. This was on our required reading list for becoming a Hypnobabies instructor, and is also on the recommended reading list that we give to our students. I highly recommend it to ALL expecting mamas (and papas!) whether you are planning a natural birth or not, because the stories are so beautiful and powerful. If you've never read or seen natural, empowered birth this can totally re-frame your perspective on birth. Changing your ideas and the images in your mind about birth is a huge first step towards having your *own* beautiful, empowered birth.So please, leave a comment below if you'd like your name put in the drawing for my copy of this book! Also if you want to increase your odds - like my Facebook Page, share the link on Facebook, and share on your blog and I will put your name in 1 more time for each way you share (just make sure you let me know in the comment)! I will pick a winner in one week when I put my next give-away up!
The first time I was introduced to Natural Family Planning (NFP) was when Mike and I went to our "Pre-Cana" or marriage preparation class. A young couple talked to us about the hows, whys, and benefits of NFP. They definitely left a strong impression on me and the biggest thing that I noticed is how much they seemed to LOVE using it. But I wasn't quite ready to take that "leap of faith" and for the first year of our marriage I continued to take the pill to prevent pregnancy. A year later the timing felt right. I knew we would want to start a family (relatively) soon and didn't want to continue with a chemical contraceptive. Also I had decided to convert to Catholicism around the same time. The decision to learn and use NFP felt right. Why was I drawn to this method? More importantly, why do I feel so strongly about it now that I want to spread the word about it? Well, first of all it is a great method both for preventing pregnancy and also maximizing your chances of achieving pregnancy when you want to. Because your body isn't dealing with any foreign chemicals you are free every cycle to decide what is best for you and your family. There is no waiting or worry that you may not be able to get pregnant because of the contraception you've been using. On that note, check out this awesome post about birth control. I believe most people will learn something that they didn't know about the various forms of "birth control" and why these prevention methods may not be the best for you. I'm not going to rehash them all because the author does a great job of breaking down each form of contraception and explaining what the real, very serious physical and psychological health issues that are associated with each type. "But what about EFFECTIVENESS?" you ask. (I can hear you yelling all the way over here!) Before letting you in on the rate of effectiveness you need to know that NFP is NOT the rhythm method (or counting days), it is a method that uses a woman's fertility signs (basal body temperature, cervical mucous, and cervix position) to determine with a high degree of certainty when her fertile time is. Yes, you are going to get very familiar with your body. No, it is not gross (well you may need to retrain your mind on this one, but I really believe it!) Yes, it is a wonderful and beautiful thing. With that said, let's have a little drumroll please...(INSERT DRUMROLL SOUND HERE)When properly practiced NFP has an effectiveness rate of over 99%. That's right, I said OVER 99%. (See the aforementioned awesome article for some links to studies about the effectiveness of NFP in areas of the world where it is the norm.) I can tell you from experience that NFP is VERY effective both in preventing and facilitating pregnancy. Both of our children were completely "planned" and very much desired pregnancies. In addition I used NFP to prevent pregnancy for a full year between the time of stopping conventional contraception to the time when we started "trying". Once we were ready to "try" it only took 2 cycles for Miss Marisol to be conceived. So in addition to the health benefits I reap from NOT using chemical or barrier forms of contraception, I still have peace of mind knowing that we can effectively use NFP to prevent pregnancy. "But what about our sex-life??" I hear you wondering now. I mean surely using this method will have an impact on *that*.Fear not, as my new favorite article notes:
"It might be misleading, however, to say that there are no side-effects of using NFP. There are some: NFP couples report increased respect for self and spouse; they almost never divorce; they report an increase in communication with each other and an increase in the quantity and quality of intercourse. (emphasis mine) For me, I think women deserve to have these side effects."
Wow. So what more is there to know? It's safe, it's effective, it costs virtually NOTHING once you know what you're doing, and it improves your marriage and sex life! That sounds too good to be true - but I'm here to tell you that it's not.
I believe EVERY WOMAN should have this intimate knowledge of her body and cycle. For me, my fertility signs have only become clearer and more obvious with time to the point where it takes very little effort for me. Yes - there is a learning curve in the beginning, and it takes time and commitment to learn, but it is SO worth it! I am definitely going to make sure that Marisol and any other future daughters (wink wink) are armed with this knowledge later in life because I believe this is so much more powerful than any other "birth control options". (I'm not going to keep information about contraception away from them either, I do trust that they will know what is right and best for them when that time comes). I really feel so strongly about NFP because of all the benefits I have felt in my life. I think it's rather obvious, but I still feel the need to state that this method is NOT "just for Catholics" or "religious" people - it's for everyone. I am infinitely grateful to the Catholic church for introducing me to this method before I was married though.
I learned the method through a home study course through the Couple to Couple League. The home study course used the book, The Art of Natural Family Planning, but has the added benefit of getting support from someone knowledgeable in the practice. So as you learn to chart your cycles you mail them to the person and they help you by looking over your analysis and giving you feedback.
I highly recommend this book and home study program if you are interested in learning about NFP. If there are live courses with an instructor near you, that may be an even better option.This week's giveaway book ties into this topic but is specifically about how breastfeeding can help space babies for families using natural methods.It's called, Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing: How Ecological Breastfeeding Spaces Babies by Sheila Matgen Kippley.
After the birth of a baby many mothers that practice NFP and choose to breastfeed are able to prevent pregnancy for many months through lactational amenorrhea. Most doctors will tell new moms that as long as baby is exclusively breastfeeding (no bottles or pacifiers either), that baby is nursed on demand (including during the night), and the baby is less than 6 months old, then it is safe to trust lactational amenorrhea to prevent pregnancy. This is a very conservative interpretation. One of the biggest factors that affects a return to fertility is night nursing (or the lack thereof). The easiest way to continue to nurse your baby throughout the night is to sleep with your baby. With my two children I experienced 27 months of no periods after my daughter was born and 31 months after my son's birth (yes, over 2 1/2 years!) Needless to say I love that part of breastfeeding and co-sleeping. I know that not every mom's body reacts the same way mine did - even moms who practice attachment parenting. However, it *is* true in native cultures the average age difference between siblings is 3-4 years old without any use of contraceptives. So families that use NFP and ecological breastfeeding don't necessarily have huge families and babies very close together in age. At this moment my family consists of two children 3 years apart in age (6 and 3) - oh, and none currently on the way either (wink).
After Marisol was born, I wasn't sure how or if I would know when my fertility was returning, but I trusted and waited and sure enough my body began to give me signs. I was fairly certain of the first time I ovulated - even before having a period. This is definitely an advantage to learning about your fertility signs before having children - when the pressure to understand your body is less (in my case I could not have been terribly upset if I got pregnant again since I knew we wanted to have a second child!)
After Gerry's birth I felt even more confident about when my fertility was making a comeback - so much so that I packed my "feminine products" when we took a vacation to Florida last winter - and sure enough after over 2 1/2 years my dear friend, Aunt Flo, made her comeback appearance while we were there! I'm pretty amazed at how in tune with my body I am now.
I realize that this book will be for a very specific person - but if you are in your "baby years", and are breastfeeding and co-sleeping then this is a great book for you. I read it quite a while ago but remember it being a great resource for me when my babies were tiny.
So please leave me a comment here to let me know if you would like my copy!
"Panem et Circenses translates into 'Bread and Circuses'. The writer was saying that in return for full bellies and entertainment his people had given up their political responsibilities and therefore their power."
I recently read the "Hunger Games" trilogy. After I finished it I felt a deep kind of sadness. The author, Suzanne Collins, wrote a brilliant story. But what made it most brilliant is that it is not a story at all - it is a harsh, undeniable truth - a commentary on our present society.
Of course I can relate to the beautiful and brave heroine, Katniss (we all should!) But what stings more is recognizing just how much I am like the people of the Capitol: well-fed, plenty of time to dedicate to leisure and entertainment, and nice, perhaps, but severely disconnected from the harsh realities of most of the world.
Soon after I finished the series I was driving in the car. It is one of the few times that I can really reflect during the day while the kids are awake. I was thinking of the upcoming election and of the quote that I started this post with. Have we as a society "sold-out" in favor of comfort and entertainment? Was it so easy for us to relinquish our power?
I have never been "into" politics. For whatever reason it is just not something that has really caught or held my attention. But that day I saw so clearly what matters - people and the earth. It's so simple. And I've felt guilty before about not being "up" on things but I also have been able to justify my ignorance pretty easily too. That day I decided: I will no longer use the fact that politics are "not my thing" as an excuse not to do better when it comes to being educated and in deciding where my vote should go.
What I really don't understand though, is how in our two-party system people are so brutal towards other people - their own brothers and sisters. I have very dear, close loved ones on both "sides". Many feel very strongly about "their" issues, "their" side, and "their" candidate. I have to say that so far I have not found a "side" or a "candidate" that I feel has it 100% "right". Also it seems very hypocritical to say the things people say about each other. This includes comments about people who are undecided - I've heard several remarks that people who are undecided are stupid, idiots, etc. What?! Maybe they are actually weighing their decision out carefully!
In my moment of clarity I thought, I know for sure that I'm going with a third party candidate. It seems so right to me and to make sense - someone who I agree with a LOT more - maybe not completely, but enough to feel good about.
Then of course, the clarity left for a while and other voices crept back in - "it's wasting your vote!" or "You're in a swing state - you're vote is really important!" or even, "why do you think this is the way - because it seems 'cool'?"
But I have to agree with the people that say we cannot compromise our beliefs too much in an attempt to go with the "lesser evil". If enough of us would realize that we need to TAKE our power back then REAL change will occur because we demanded it.
For now, I'm going to keep doing my best in my every day life - which mostly means being the best mom, wife, friend and neighbor that I can be. It also means that for the most part I continue to keep the HUGE problems afflicting our world - hunger, war, and oppression to name a few - tucked into the back of my mind. It does not do me OR the world any good for me to dwell and immerse myself in these matters. BUT I do need to take responsibility for actions I can reasonably make right now... and I dream of future days when I can do more to change the world.
Today something really remarkable happened. Well if you were watching my house it would have looked entirely UN-remarkable because what happened was completely inside of me, hidden from the outside world.
Marisol is a little under the weather - headache, a little feverish, leg pains, and all around tiredness. She didn't sleep that well last night and today she has a runny nose too. So we had a very relaxed day. We stayed in all day, largely in PJs, lounging on the couch, watching TV, reading books, and cuddling. Friday is normally dance class but I had a feeling she wasn't up for it. As the time approached when we should leave, I asked her again what she thought. Since she wasn't terribly ill I think she could have gone if she wanted to, but I left it up to her. She didn't feel up for it. So I let it go - it was probably the wisest choice as she hadn't eaten that well in over a day and also so we didn't spread whatever she had to other classmates. Plus I really trusted her to make the decision that was best for her.
So that was cool. But not the remarkable thing. Normally on a day like this I would have been feeling quite "blah" by the end of it. We didn't get outside; indeed, we barely moved today! I read a lot on the computer and a book that I got out from the library. But when Mike got home from work and Gerry woke up from nap (around 6 o'clock both!) I was actually able to move on with my day without any sign of the blahs. (This to me is the epitome of the blahs - losing motivation to do ANYTHING)
What was different?
I'll tell you what's different - it's the power of affirmations and using our minds for good in our lives. I just finished reading my second Louise Hay book, "You Can Create an Exceptional Life" (coauthored by Cheryl Richardson). It is great, no - unbelievable - stuff. For example, I'm not known for being a morning person (Ask my dad! He got to see me at 6 am a lot growing up as I worked for him on our family golf course). But I'm changing that now and it's not even hard, it just takes practice. In the morning I've been starting out with positive thoughts - how I'm going to approach my day, what nourishing food I will provide for myself and my kids, how I love life (and life loves me!) I know it sounds hokey, but you should try it because it works!
I've always thought of myself as an optimistic person and I believe most people who know me would describe me as such. But the truth is that many, MANY of the thoughts that run through my mind on a daily basis are NOT positive. When I'm feeling bad about what the kids and I have done all day, when I'm feeling not good enough or running through my list of "shoulds", none of those thoughts are kind towards myself nor are they even helping. We often think that we can motivate or will ourselves to "be better" with these negative thoughts, but I'm learning this is not the case. Instead, by affirming what we love about ourselves and what we want in our lives we create the space - mentally, physically, emotionally - for change to occur.
So this evening I was able to get off the couch, feed Marisol, play with Gerry and let go of the idea of getting out for a walk when it became clear it wasn't meant to be, easily and with love. And I don't feel blah at all! That is REMARKABLE!
And now that I am slowly learning to reign in my mind, to retrain it to think only positive, loving things, I want to learn to still it when I want or need it to quiet. To actually NOT think at all. That's my next step, it may be even more challenging but I'm sure with some affirmations I can do it!
There was so much in this book that resonated with me, I highly recommend it. It's a quick and easy read. See if your library has it - what do you have to lose? Nothing says I, and everything to gain! ;-)