Thursday, December 2, 2010

i am writing graffiti on your body, i am drawing the story of how hard we tried...

I love how the universe works. I wanted to get back into blogging, and I stumble upon reverb10. I write about how I want to make room in my life for writing, and today's reverb10 prompt is all about writing. Ask and you shall receive. (A powerful reminder that the universe gives you what you need, when you need it. You just have to be willing to listen. And do the work when the answers find you...)

On to today's prompt.

December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)

Work. It's a glib answer, but it's true. I spend so much time in front of a screen at work, writing or editing political communications, that by the time I get home, the last thing I really want to do is sit in front of a screen. Or write. And then there's the things I do when I do sit in front of the screen at home, like play on Facebook. Or Twitter. Or mindlessly surf the web while the TV is on in the background. I try to do too many things at once. Or check out, turn off the brain for a while. And inevitably, a half-hour turns into an hour. An hour turns into two, and before I know it, my evening is shot, and I haven't put pen to paper or fingers to keys and written anything of meaning to me.

I can't eliminate work, clearly. (Without winning the lottery, that is, which would require me to actually purchase a ticket or two, and even then the odds would only be improved minutely...) But I can chose to use my downtime more productively. I can limit my at home screen time. I can chose to focus on one thing at a time, and devote myself to it. I can chose to make writing a priority. I've found a way to include meditation every day, I can also find a way to make writing a regular part of my life. And I will...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

hope there's someone who'll set my heart free, nice to hold when I'm tired...

I miss writing, but my muse has been errant. My 'me' time lately has not included the computer and while I've enjoyed the meditation, the movement and the music that has been filling my time, I don't want to neglect the writer side of myself. The part who likes to play with words. So like every other thing in my life that is good for me, and that I do enjoy, I have to make time for it. So I will make an effort to take some time to put words to screen (or page, if I feel so inclined) more often.

To help me with that endeavour (and some of the other goals that coincide) I've decided to participate in Reverb 10. I'd not heard of this until today, when in a few brief moments of downtime from my work that has become so very busy as of late, I followed a link on Twitter. I love how when you need something, but when you're not looking for it, the universe sends you exactly what you'd given up looking for.

Today's prompt: December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you? (Author: Gwen Bell)

My one word for 2010: HOPE.

I was going to pick another word. The first word that popped into my head was "Loss" followed closely by "Sucked". 2010 was not a good year. 2010 was in fact one of my more painful years. The miscarriage at the end of June made my heart ache in a way I'd never experienced before. And while it was a huge part of this year (trying to get pregnant, seeing that second line for the first time, and then 5 weeks later seeing the dream and my world crash down around me, my tiny, little bean in my hand 31 weeks too soon...) - it was not the whole of it. And part of what I've been focusing on this year is less of the negative, more of the positive and I don't want the one word that sums up my year to be negative.

Hope is a far better fit for this year. Despite everything - how hard it's been for us to conceive, how hard it was losing Bean - we both are willing to keep trying. We both have hope. Every time we try something new to try to make our lives better, that's hope. ANd 2010 has been an exercise in my trying to make my life better. To do more for me and my needs. To love myself unconditionally. To believe that things will all work out in the end. That is hope. And that has been my year.

My word for 2011: JOY.

I think, really, the reasons go without saying.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

push it, make the wheels go harder...

I learned a valuable lesson yesterday.

I've been going to Aquafit classes at the pool across the street from my house. And while I like the concept behind Aquafit - bouncing around in a pool for an hour, just like when I was a kid - the classes I'd been going to were less than inspiring. The instructor is a woman in her mid-fifties, in a sweatsuit, yelling out movements every so often. She never gives encouragement, she never exercises with us, and she never motivates. She's going through the motions, in essence. And as a result, her classes are low-key, with little energy. We, too, go through the motions, mostly. I try to push myself, but I rarely leave feeling like I really worked out.

So last night, when I got home from a long day at the office, I was cranky and tired and the last thing I wanted to do was go to an uninspiring aquafit class. Mike pushed and prodded and finally got me out the door, swimsuit and money for the class in hand, but I was convinced the class would be mostly a waste of time.

Boy was I wrong. The usual instructor wasn't there. Instead, one of the life-guards, a young woman probably about 18 or 19 (or even younger), lead the class. And lead it, did she ever. She was in the water with us, she was shouting out instructions left and right, she was motivating, she was enthusiastic. In short, she was everything the other instructor was not. The class was HARD. She had us moving and jumping and working our butts off. And I loved it.

The lesson learned was this - never assume you know what something will be like. Because it might just surprise you...

As an aside - apparently I was one of the only ones who really enjoyed the class. Most of the other women are in their fifties and sixties and were less than thrilled at the new intensity level (and that they didn't get to use their precious foam weights - she had us use water bottles filled with water instead.) I heard nothing but grumbling in the change room after the class about how hard it was, and how they didn't like it. Which is too bad, because it was exactly the kind of class I was hoping for...

I may have to look into either finding a new place to take aquafit, or a new type of exercise...

Monday, November 8, 2010

every single soul needs a little releasing...

Every cycle, I look at those first few temperatures of my chart, trying to determine what this cycle is going to look like. Last cycle my first four temperatures made a great big check mark - a sign, or so I thought, that this was the cycle! Ha! Instead it went on and on and on, with ovulation finally occurring on CD46, if at all... Science says Provera supresses ovulation if taken before you ovulate, but my naturopath tells me that my body is stubborn ("it's not just your body that's stubborn," said my husband when I was telling him this today) and isn't forced easily into doing anything it doesn't want to do, so she suspects that my ovulation temperature rise was real (especially since it happened 6 days after I started the Provera. Normally the temp rise would happen right away, she said.)

So, while my body doesn't like to be forced, we are hoping that perhaps it can be gently encouraged to do what it's meant to do. I started a new approach with my Naturopath today. Acupuncture once weekly for the next two weeks. Chinese herbs on CD10-20. Weekly massage. Mediation. Yoga. Gentle encouragement for my body to regulate itself. Hopefully my body will cooperate.

I rather like this new plan. If nothing else, it will be nice taking time for me. Acupuncture is very relaxing. A meditation practice is something I've been meaning to start for a while now. And a weekly massage sounds like divine indulgence.

In other news - I'm seeing Michael Franti in concert on Wednesday! (talking about divine indulgences!) I'm very excited. In my worst moments after the miscarriage, his music was the only thing that could make me smile. It is by far the happiest music ever. Even when it's not inherently happy, it still has a very positive message.

I mean, I dare you to listen to this song and not smile while tapping your toes to the beat...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

i want to live where soul meets body...

I have always had a love/hate relationship with my body.

Well, that's not entirely true. I have hated my body. I have been ambivalent about my body. I have been disconnected from my body. I have wished my body to be many things. Very rarely in my life have I really loved my body.

From a very early age, I remember feeling like my body had betrayed me, had let me down. Things were done to my body that were out of my control that left me feeling ashamed. And even though I used to run and dance and take pleasure in movement when I was a very young child, I lost that feeling of joy in my body when I was still very young. I escaped into books not exercise. For a very long time I lived my life as if my body were just this thing that I needed to get me around, but wasn't really a part of me.

I've been learning over the last few years to connect to my body again - to recognize it as as much a part of me as my mind and my soul. But we struggle, my body and I. For as much as I distrust it, it has every reason to distrust me as well.

I blamed my body for what happened to me when I was young. I blamed my body for being naturally chubby - something I was told over and over and over again that I shouldn't be. I blamed my body for a lot of things, and so I would punish my body with food, while trying to comfort my emotions. I remember buying family-sized bags of chips on my way home from school in grade 7 and eating the whole thing on the swings before I got home, stuffing handfuls of chips in my face because the girls and boys in my class had teased me about something like my stomach, or my hips or my breasts. I didn't treat my body well for many, many years. It's taken us both a long time to learn that neither one of us really wants to hurt the other. It's taken us a long time to learn to work together.

The miscarriage has brought my relationship with my body back to the forefront of my mind again. I felt like my body let me down. But really, it did what it was supposed to do. I didn't need a D&C or medication to miscarry, I did so naturally. And my body recovered quickly. Until this last cycle, our first TTC again. This last cycle I didn't ovulate. I had to bring my period on with medication. My trust in my body has been shaken once more.

But instead of punishing my body, this time I'm trying to work with it. Even though I feel disappointed in it, I'm learning from my mistakes of the past. If I want my body to work for me, I have to work for it. It's no coincidence I chose Yoga as one of my activities this fall - yoga forces you to be present, both in the moment and in your body. Walking is good for that too. And I'm trying to have faith - my body knows how to ovulate. We got pregnant on our own once, hopefully we can do it again. And if not, I have a plan with our RE (reproductive endocrinologist). We're going to see what this cycle does. And if it, too, isn't cooperative, then we'll start investigations in the new year.

Monday, November 1, 2010

every day is halloween...

My Jack Skellington O'Lantern

 Lessons I learned from last night's trick-or-treaters...

  1. If the door doesn't open within 2 seconds of ringing the door bell, start knocking loudly and repeatedly, while also ringing the door bell again.
  2. Even though you've been given a big handful of candy, keep your bag open and ask for more.
  3. Costumes are apparently optional.
  4. Never leave candy out as a self-serve as my neighbours did. While some will live up to the honour code and just take one or two pieces, within an hour two uncostumed teenagers will just dump the entire bowl into the garbage bags they're using as trick-or-treat bags...
  5. If you like a decoration at someone's house, you should ask if you can have it. And if they say no, ask for something else. And keep asking until your mother, totally embarrassed finally tells you to shut up and say thank you for the candy.  
And then the most important lesson of the night - Parenting tips from the mother of the year:
  1. As your 10 children crowd around the door, all jostling for treats,  scream at them repeatedly to be careful of the jack-o-lantern as "There's FIRE there", all the while smoking a cigarette I can still smell in my hallway. Then, open your own pillowcase to collect for "my sick kid at home" (funny she said that last year, I remember her) and then hold the pillow case directly over the FIRE you were so worried about 2 seconds before. 
 Remind me again why I spend my evening waiting around to give out candy to people I don't know?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

in this town we call home, everyone hail to the pumpkin song...

It's Halloween. One of my favourite holidays. And yet, I'm not excited about it this year. Sure, I threw together a costume for our work Halloween lunch and my friend's party last night, but otherwise, nothing. I haven't decorated our house, I haven't carved our pumpkins, I didn't even get candy that we like to hand out. (We don't need candy would be part of the reason. The other being that last year we had so many kids, not just teenagers but little kids, without costumes and who were demanding 'more' when we'd hand out our handful of candy to each of them, that I didn't feel like giving out great candy this year if it's just going to be unappreciated like that...)

I don't know if it's just that I'm outgrowing Halloween, or if this year it's even more bittersweet because of the loss. One of the things I'm looking most forward to with my children is Halloween. I loved this holiday as a kid and spent hours planning out my costumes and figuring out our trick-or-treat route. Had things not been different I would have been 26 weeks pregnant. I'd be dreaming of next year when I'd have a little one to dress up and introduce to Halloween (even though they'd be too young to understand, I know). At this rate, I can't even be sure I'll be pregnant next Halloween, let alone have a baby. *sniff*.

Okay, enough of the pity party.

On a different note - I hope the trick-or-treaters tonight have picked warm costumes. We got 6 cms of snow last night! It's starting to melt this morning, but it's still only supposed to go up to 3C today. Burr. Reminds me of Halloweens of my childhood - I know there were a few times I trick-or-treated in the snow in Winnipeg.

Our first Halloween in Winnipeg (I think)

Anyway, today I will attempt to find my Halloween spirit, by carving our pumpkins, roasting the seeds, and watching a scary movie. Or at least a Halloween-themed movie. Maybe scary is too ambitious. I don't really do scary movies well any more - too many nightmares...

Happy Halloween. What are you doing to celebrate tonight?