Thursday, August 27, 2009

Self Care 101

Self-care is about learning how to go:

from being busy and dizzy to being calm and centered,
from worried and stressed to safe and relaxed,
from too busy to take care of me to allowing myself what I need,

from guilt about being selfish to the deep Ahh of satisfaction,
from being on edge all the time to being calm in the belly
from feeling confused and not knowing who I am to feeling self-assured and at peace

from overworking, workaholic with no time for me to a balanced life of work love play rest
from perpetual do-gooder who can't say no to accepting my limits gracefully
from harsh unforgiving perfectionist to compassionate, gentle, caring for my body and soul,

from broken to whole
from not OK to OK

accepting my light and dark.

Do a mental checklist, a body scan right now, and find your center by slowing down your out breath. Reflect on this message: Being good to myself means......

Be good to yourself today!


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Light & Dark poem

caffeine itch in my veins tonight
I try to scratch out the wildness
my dark sister, can’t tame her
so I will her away
back to the lump
in my throat where she festers
tosses and turns me over

when I wake at night, my son
hears my thoughts, wakes & worries
my spirit might not take him
with me as I flit through
a slit in the walls, float up, away
he fights sleep, says
I’m a boy
I’m awake
I don’ wanna sleep
don’ wanna sleep

I pick him up, put him where I want him
he moves somewhere else, we change beds
three times, from his new big bed
to baby’s crib
to momma’s bed
ah back to mommy, safety, womb
he would crawl back into, little tyrant
with a suce in his mouth
jealous of Caitie’s spot at my breast

she is my love my all-sight
my moon in the sleepless night
he is wild but I’m setting him straight
fighting his 2 year old will

time to give up this battle
find a small space for my wild self
between them, space to breathe in

then I can be here for them
my beautiful son and moon

from Little Mother, published 1997

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Pill and You

A book just came in the mail from author Alexandra Pope, who wrote The Wild Genie, and whose website is linked here on the sidebar, and co-author Jane Bennett.

The Pill, Are you sure it's for you? is sure to be a controversial book, but it's very grounded in scientific research.

The main thrust of the book is that although women herald the pill as the great liberator, freeing women from unwanted pregnancies, and granting sexual freedom, it also is the 'greatest medical experiment' ever perpetuated on half of the human race.

We know about some of the side effects, but these are often downplayed. The pill is even prescribed to twelve year old girls with acne to control their skin problems. It seems odd that doctors seek to repress symptoms without looking to find the cause. But then, hormonal contraception is a multi-billion dollar industry with sales of $1.7 billion a year in the US alone (stats from the book The Pill).

There is a very good discussion of the dangers of menstrual suppression, which is touted as 'more natural' than having a monthly period for 35 years by some doctors. For myself, I took the pill at age 17, and went off at age 19, then didn't have a period for two years. It never was an option for me, so I looked into natural methods of identifying the ovulation part of the cycle (easy to do), and my husband and I used condoms until I hit menopause.

Many girls and women have never even considered other options. And they probably aren't told of the dangers of thrombosis or blood clots, mood swings, depression, weight gain, fertility problems and other side effects. (In one study quoted, of 23,0000 oral contraception users, over a third of the women on the Pill stopped taking it because of depression." (29) Synthetic hormones are four times as strong as your natural hormone levels. They affect all your organs and processes. The liver for example, must handle these hormones, break them down so your body can use them, and can get overloaded. "Nausea, crankiness and moodiness as well as feeling depleted, tired and rundown, can in part be traced to this added strain that processing the Pill places on your liver." (41)

I highly recommend you read this book to get fully informed on the side-effects so you can decide if the benefits are worth it. There is a wonderful chapter on how to find the best contraception method for you. And several chapters cover the power of the menstrual cycle and how to tune into your own rhythm, which stems from the work Alexandra Pope has done in her previous workshops and books. The

If you are considering going off the pill, you also may benefit from reading this book. Many stories and examples are given of women who felt disconnected from themselves while on the pill, and now are embracing a greater harmony as they get back in touch with their cycles.

Menstruation is a natural, healthy process in women, and when it's not working, there are underlying health issues that must be addressed, whether genetic, stress-related, or environmental.

Take charge of your reproductive health - ask the right questions, get informed. Make peace with your period. And above all, listen to your body's wisdom about whether the pill is right for you.

More on this book later

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sweet Reminder

It's so interesting to read about our explorations into space, and the recent anniversary of our trip to the moon - one giant step and a new view of planet earth.

Today I watched a video that reminded me that there's really no other place to be right now than on earth, and that something divine is unfolding here, right now, in spite of war, poverty, hunger and misery perpetrated by human beings on human beings.

The only place to be, and the only thing to do, is feel peace within.

For a long time I've wondered what the best use of my time is, how to help the world, and in this little video (linked below), I was reminded that peace is the coolest thing, the oldest and the newest thing going around. Always brand new, cause it's always happening now. And so I want to share it with you.

Watch this short video - it's a sweet reminder from a wonderful teacher.\

Friday, August 07, 2009

This is it, right here right now

Always we hope someone else has the answer.
Some other place will be better.
Some other time, it will all turn out.
This is it.
No one else has the answer.
No other place will be better.
And it has already turned out.
At the center of your being you have the answer;
you know who you are and you know what you want.
There is no need to run outside for better seeing.
Nor to peer from a window.
Rather abide at the center of your being;
For the more you leave it, the less you learn.
~ Lao-tsu

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Musings from my notebooks on younger self

Post coitum omne animal triste est /“after sex every animal is sad”. (written 2005)

What is it that keeps us awake at night or early morning before dawn, skin damp with sweat, heart doing silly flip flops or pounding on the door to get out? I lie beside you at 6:15 and put my hand on your chest. It falls over your heart and I catch its rhythm, a little irregular, but beating steadily the way it should, but I know you are tired before you even begin the day, the way I know by just looking that it is not a good time to bring up the subject of bills to pay or dogs to walk, or moving out west. So I hover my hand over your heart and pray that today you will take each breath at a time and not run ahead of its rhythm, and that I will stay close to those cantering horses, slow them down to a quick trot, not gallop all day like a wild horse in a field full of gopher holes. Ready to break my neck at breakneck speed; god speed -- that’s the speed we should walk at work at, a gentle breathing pace. I soothe myself with this thought, before I sit up to meditate.

My fears about my mother’s drinking, over 25 years sober, celebrated her golden sobriety, but suspected of sneaking sips just before Dad died; the deep shadow buried in the cave of my worries. Sinking pit in the stomach feeling, fluttering with unease, yet I function in spite of it. Wind howling around the ears, narrow escapes through windows in my dreams, my body under ice drowning, trying to get to what buried treasure?
Old lady, look at my life, I am a lot like you were.
Addicted to the adrenaline of stress, pushing too hard then collapse, fuel gage on low. A bit manic compared to last year’s lethargy.

Want to recoup, withdraw the lines of energy binding me to everyone else. Kids already align themselves with their father, a good sign, release the stranglehold of motherworry I project on them. We all seek freedom, equilibrium. Learn to sit still and listen.

Deep in the body, transcendent, the feeling you get when love making is genuine: threshold, a rite of passage, betwixt and between, a transition phase like death or birth, from out of a dark moist place, the eclipse of the moon or sun, the diving into the darkness and noise of sex, a rollercoaster ride, into the tender light of morning.

Coming out of the castle of chastity into the world of nature, life, undoing the wound of childhood, regaining its purity.

Tuesday morning, I sit with the ball of anxiety in the pit of my solar plexus, see myself running forward, turning back now at half way point to catch up with my self. Look back to retell the story of how I got this far, reframe it as myth, or fairy tale.

Feel the center folding in, collapsing. The little tyrant trying to hold it all together, fear of this falling but can’t carry the ball anymore, it’s as heavy as Atlas’s globe. No way for it, but in, underground, past the scary bull dog Cerebus, down like Innana, stripped of jewels, headdress, necklace earrings clothing –the trappings of beauty, head shorn and bare, exposed throat open to the knife.

My own unnamed fears and anxieties throttle me. To dive from this height -- pull back in fear, trembling. Yet only one way to lose the fear, jump. Exhilaration of that long swan dive, the younger self catches up to the swan self and we re-integrate, heal the split. I left her behind, repudiated her, now I can reclaim her, embrace her wickedness, her rebellious, annoying belligerent exuberance, her painfully loud anger, and growling refusal to buy into complacency,

My shit disturber fighter-of-injustice self, my stand up and be counted fire-breathing dragon, galloping goliath fighting little Sheba/David. Protector of innocents, wielder of the shield of Hope, pitting herself against authority and high school tyrant teachers and principles – the muckraking journalist–thorn in your side student. ....Who am I kidding? I left the leftist leaning hippie behind and morphed into the corporate hand kissing middleclass homeowner with an executive lifestyle – split again – between high class and no class. So what is the real person doing in the middle of these identities? Who is she rooting for?

So I let down the armour, admit to being human, release the burden of harsh self-judgment. When I say no to my kids, I feel the weight of the monster that judges herself for being too strict, some confusion between the philosophy that brought me this far (on parenting) and the one I will discover.

As far as what I want to do with my life, I don’t know yet what I want to be and maybe I don’t have to be a ‘famous’ anything, maybe my gift is just to be myself, be happy with that. I can do so many things, why be only be one thing? And why does it have to be like that forever? That you decide now and become something-- why not lay down that terrible burden of trying to be something.

Lay down in the grass and let the sun shine on your back, lie prone on the ground, receive the sun’s heat and ask the burning questions – (for me) what is the value of a mother?

It’s not a break-down, but a breaking open of the heart, that’s what tears do. The drum of the heart beats a great heat through the body to melt the fear-armour, split the hull of self-deceit and protection.

The mothering we need: to be shown how to do things, how to eat, cook, do laundry, we need to be shown how to love, recover from heartbreak, hold the neck of a new baby, change a diaper. Le mal de mer – not seasickness, but mother sickness, missing mothering, the tender rocking of waves.

musemother, notes towards acceptance

Monday, August 03, 2009


blood used to mark her territory
like a wolf pissing circles round its den
sniff too close, bares her teeth
new gold moon stay inside my skin

once called a curse Eve blamed so
misses the colour so she paints red
on her lips

permission it gave her
to strip the world off her
stand like an oak
as a decorative cherry

deciding where to plant
her healing in the world
drinking from the roots of her feet
what she needed
until the next orb

used to bleach it out of her
now staying in her sacrum
like a rope on fire
new gold moon
stay inside my skin

a new and graceful girl
inside my skin

(c) 2007 by Patti Sinclair of "Motherhood As A Spiritual Practice",
"out of the witch's mouth", and runs the "red earthwomen
presents" reading series in pei.