Third trimester shenanigans: Jinx

So, forget what I said about sleeping because the last few nights have been hit or miss 😀

Here are the revelations not sleeping has brought me.

  1. When Lil Boo doesn’t sleep, I can’t sleep. There could be a myriad of reasons why the boy ain’t falling to sleep. It could be because he’s been a bit sick lately. It could also be due to the fact that our house has been filled with stress from my husband’s work and guilt from me not being the active, play-all-day-Mother I’d like to be. He could also be outgrowing his 8pm bed time, or just sensing the impending doom of not being the only kid in the house anymore. Either way, I watch him actively refuse to nap or wait for me to come and re-tuck him in at night before he finally settles down. Shit makes me sad and anxious 🙁
  2. When my emotions are backed up, I can’t sleep. Somehow I forgot that my father’s death-anniversary is less than a month away. As I carry another son, I can’t help but feel some kind of way knowing that my father won’t get to meet this one. It breaks my heart. Lil Boo met his grandfather. Lil Boo#2 won’t. *sigh* Not to mention, I have never felt more surrounded by death. People have been posting about late term abortions, infant loss, babies being choked out in Wal-Mart. Facebook is a minefield of shit I don’t want to see.
  3. My pregnancy hormones have kicked in and I am feeling all sorts of evil. When I do actually sleep, I still feel tired, overwhelmed and like I don’t want to be bothered with shit. I love the little life inside of me, but the transition from one kid to two is a bit unnerving. There are so many what-ifs floating around my head. I completely respect and honor 1 and done 🙂

When I wake up feeling all of this, I just feel it. 3am is really the only time I have to process, so I enjoy the space to actually feel without interrupting myself. When I am done listening, I find my mind wanders from my body. I drift into sleep peacefully.

We’ll see what pops up next.

With all the crazy about these days, be sure to take precious care!

J

Mommying Mommy: Feeling what I am feeling

Because I am no longer able to day drink, I’ve been working on creative ways to be present with challenging emotions that arise while I am with little one….

Things we’ve been doing that seem to work:

  1. Omming
  2. Deep breathing (focus on exhalation)
  3. Singing

Things that don’t seem to work:

  1. Thinking about my emotions*
  2. Snapping at lil Boo

*I want to note that thinking about my feelings is quite different than actually acknowledging them. I notice that I have a tendency to actually judge whatever I am feeling rather than just feel it. For me all my feelings are bad and thus should not go any further than bubbling up from the depths. I’m working on that though 🙂

Slowly but surely I learning to Mother myself as I am attempting to Mother Little Boo. I will let keep you posted as things unfold.

 

Take Precious Care

J

 

Update: Still in the body.. still working it out

The more I am in here, the more I notice things. Some of these things, I’ve known but buried because I didn’t know how to deal with them. Other things.. well I am only recently seeing for the first time. Here’s what I’ve been noticing lately.

  1. My physical alignment is wonky 🙂

I have this funky little inward rotation going on with my right leg that extends up into my torso. This is something I’ve known for a while, but have forgotten. I first discovered this when I had a regular ashtanga practice a couple of years ago. Which makes me wonder how long I have been physically neglecting my body. The more physically engaging my yoga practice becomes the more I am learning and remembering about how my body best works.

2. Parts of the childhood me that want to be witness are very like an upset childlike: intense and unrelenting.

This full on nature of an emotion or feeling that wants to be witnessed helps me determine the best way to process what I am feeling. I process emotions that are grounded in the present moment differently than how I process things coming up from the past asking to be witnessed. I would love to say that motherhood gives me all the time in the world to process everything that comes up, but I’d be a damned lie 🙂 What seems to be helping most is staying in my body, nap time and a regular physically engaging practice.

 

3. The holidays have me sooooo triggered.

I would say everything from Thanksgiving on has had me on fire in some way. All these memories and sensations hide behind present events intensifying everything. This shit has not been easy. Staying present in my body has not been easy. I have been losing myself in fantasy, watching all sorts of tv and eating gluten like it’s going out of style. These are my adult ways of coping with not being able to deal with the pain I feel. I want to say that I am doing something magical to get through. I’m not 🙂 I am seriously fucked up and trying not to spread it around 🙂 We’ll see what comes up.

 

That’s what’s going on in here. So, what’s going on in you?

 

Update: Working through Terror, Panic and Anxiety

Now that I have been consciously working with grounding myself in the morning, enjoying a lovely combination of nettles, oat straw, rhodiola and lemon balm and doing my best to remind myself that I am no longer a kid (that’s a lot) things have eased up a bit. Well, kinda 🙂

I would not say that I am miraculously healed or something. But I would say that I have a few tools and coping mechanisms that help calm me when I am triggered. The entertaining thing is that I am triggered by quite a lot. However, if I can remember to stay here and now, while holding space for whatever feeling is surging, being triggered becomes useful. I can actually bear witness to why I hurt. In the past few days I’ve developed a great deal more compassion for myself and others. In one way or another, we are all working through something.

Here are a few other observations:

1.  Grounding is so much easier when I start with my third eye. We all  have a dominant (or a few dominant) chakras. The third eye is mine. She gets things done. If I start grounding by working with her, things usually go easier.

2. My adrenals are on strike. Somehow, I don’t really blame them. Even before my father died, I was constantly engulfed in some sort of heavy intense emotion. If I wasn’t overwhelmed by emotion, I was enraged at life for some reason or another. All that pushing; all that stress takes a toll on the body. For the past year or so, my low back has been off. Although some of the yoga  I did helped, nothing eased it like drinking the tea mentioned above. It did the job fairly quickly too!

3. My weight is an indicator of my mental health.  Since having my son, I’ve been my checking my weight regularly. At first is was because I felt anxious to lose baby weight. But as the weight slowly came off, I began to notice when I put on a pound or three. Sometimes it was because of my period, other times is was because I was making crazy food choices. I generally enjoy a healthy diet; at least when I am feeling sane. I only eat crazy when I am in pain. If I am pain, why and what can I do to fix it?

That’s about all for now. The more I commit to being in my body, the more I learn about what I can do to make my body a pleasureful place to be.

Take Precious Care,

Jeannette

 

Through the valley and the shadow of death

Sometime around September things started to slip. I slowly forgot to do the things that keep me sane. I started consuming large amounts of cheese. I stopped reading Grace Jones’s memoirs to read online gossip. My physical yoga practice shifted to meditation and I stopped making my little shatavri smoothies. It’s now November. I can’t make a clear business decision to save my life.  I’ve developed irregular physical pangs and stopped sleeping through the night.

For me this is what grief looks like. I go from a well oiled self-care machine to a surly mucus filled mother who doesn’t shower and hates talking in the morning. I want to sit here and say it’s important to know what your little signs that you are slipping into darkness, so you can stop. But sometimes, I wonder if stopping is really necessary.

Today, I welcome the darkness. During my sons naps and morning mediations, I welcome all the tears I haven’t cried and all the I love you’s I never got to say. I also find space to hear all my disappointments and frustrations why I feel this bottomless pit of longing I can’t seem to crawl out of.

Rather than trying to nourish or sweeten my way out of my pain, I think I will feel it. I know once I feel it, I can receive what it has for me and move on. I am learning that no matter how long I sit in child’s pose, no matter how much tincture or rescue remedy I consume, shit just hurts. It will continue to hurt until it doesn’t hurt anymore. That’s just life. We go through tough times. We only stay in the tough time when we deny our own suffering. Trying to stave off the pain of grief doesn’t help at all.

The only thing that seems to help is finding compassion to be where and how I am; knowing that in this moment I am doing my best.  My best is all I could ever ask of myself.

 

Mourning through Motherhood

Here is a short list of the herbs that have helped me mourn my father while being Mommy. Please note that I didn’t work with all these herbs at once. I find that some plants helped for different parts of the process. However they all have and continue to support me as I grieve and raise my little one. Also, I breastfed while working with all these plants and had no problems. If you are very concerned, please contact your doctor, midwife or lactation consultant.

Homeopathic Remedies

Homeopathic Arnica: Homeopathic Arnica was great for when the death was fresh. It kept me grounded and present so I could actually remember to grieve. Arnica didn’t take the pain away for me. It reminded me that I had just gone through something very painful and that I should take precious care of myself.

Homeopathic Ignatius Amara: Ignatius Amara kept (and still keeps) me from being emotionally constipated. When I wouldn’t let myself cry or be sad, Ignatius Amara would hold space for me to cry or be sad as much as I needed to. It helped me to keep flowing  and helped me to feel without judgment or overwhelm.

How the homeopathic remedies worked with me: For the first 3 months or so, I would take either Arnica or Ignatius Amara (sometimes both) every 4 – 6 hours. I needed all the help I could get at the time.  After three months, I backed off a bit. Now, when I recognize that I am having a rough time, I take some Ignatius Amara. I love Arnica, but for me Ignatius Amara is more gentle.

Tinctures

Elderflower Tincture: I love Elderflower. Elderflower will help you channel your energy in the most beneficial direction. So instead of spiraling into the darkness of what had happened, Elderflower helped me keep one foot in front of the other; moving in a positive direction. Note: This does not mean I had an easy time. It means that in the midst of sorrow, I had a light pulling me forward. There was something that had confidence in my ability to make it through and was rooting for me. For me, this is what I needed most.

Rose Tincture: Rose Tincture helps remind me how my I love my father. No, the man was not perfect, but thanks to Rose’s help I can remember and celebrate what I love most about him. Rose’s love also helped me say all I needed to say to him before he passed, so neither of us needed to carry that.

Peach Tincture: Peach has softened any harsh left over feelings I held towards my Father. It’s allowed my heart to expand and feel compassion for things he did that hurt me. Peach has also been instrumental in keeping my anxiety from running wild. My anger and anxiety have vastly increased as part of the grieving process, Peach keeps things in check for me. (Sweet Violet is another tincture that’s great for anger and anxiety.)

Reishi Tincture: Together with Peach, Reishi has helped to heal old scars on my heart. It’s increased my empathy for Dad and helps me feel like he’s not too far away. Reishi is perfect for deep heart work, and I would play with it more, but it upsets my bowels if I take it for more than a month at a time.

How the tinctures worked with me: I love some tinctures. They are easy to work with. I would take a dropper full in my mouth every morning. Teas I would forget or get stressed out over. Tincture I would rarely forget. I find that I forget, it’s time to play with another tincture. They usually call to me in advance , so if I am being on top of things, I already have what’s needed.

Essential Oils

Frankincense Essential Oil: I started playing with Frankincense oil right before my father died. It has a soothing, calming presence that helped to ground me. Frankincense oil is a great go-to for working through Daddy issues.

Myrrh Essential Oil: Mourning my Father’s death, inflamed grievances I have with my Mother. Myrrh helped keep me steady, in integrity and grounded as I dealt with my Mother. Myrrh is great for working through Mommy issues.

Geranium Essential Oil: Geranium’s big bright spirit brought youthful joy and peace. It helped me to feel resilient and strong. She also has a way of helping you work through things in a simple, easy and almost playful way. Geranium is fun and uplifting, yet protective.

Bergamot Essential Oil: Bergamot kept me from descending into the abyss. He kept me light and fired up. There would be no way that I couldn’t find light to see or understand if he was around. If you are clinging to the edge and want something to bring you light and joy, Bergamot on your hands, belly or the bottoms of your feet can help.

How the Oils worked with me: The Essential oils wanted different things from me. Sometimes, they wished to be put into a diffuser and kept near all day. This was perfect for winter. Now a days, the usually like to be put on my skin in specific places. Bergamot loves my belly and the top of my head. Geranium wants to be on my heart, in the front and on the back. Frankincense and Myrrh go in various places on various days.

Here’s my list 🙂 There are plenty of other Herbal Allies that will support you through grief, but these are the ones I know 🙂 I hope this list has helped you in some way.

Herbal Ally of the Week : Peach

I have fond memories of Peach. When I was a little girl, there was a Peach Tree in our back yard. Peach Tree seemed a bit tiny in comparison to the tall graceful Birch Tree that danced in the wind beside it. Peach tree’s sap used to run, it’s leaves had brown edges and it’s fruit was spotted. I used to be so very angry at the Birch Tree beside it. I swore the Birch Tree was choking it out. Funny story, in the end that Birch Tree saved my life :). However, those two trees were just too close and I was so upset when my parents cut Lil Peach Tree down.

My memories of Peach tree are quite different from my current experience with her. She is a comfort when my nerves are shot, I am feeling stabby and I just can’t find my way back to calm. There is something soothing about peach. She softens hard the hard spots in your heart and gives stuck emotions space to flow. Suddenly what was stuck can move and you can finally discern the past from the present. You don’t have to hurt anymore, you can now move on.

Working with, or rather playing with Peach tincture has helped me clear my lungs and open my heart in a gentle sweet way. Because of Peach, I know that growth or moving on doesn’t have to be something painful. It can just be. If you have something stuck in your heart or have a knot that needs to be loosened, Peach will help sweeten things so you can let go. If you find yourself anxious in a sort of violent way, Peach will create peace , so there is no longer a need for war. She doesn’t want to see you suffer or harm yourself when you can forgive instead.

My favorite thing to do it enjoy Peach tincture in the morning. There is a distinct different in my patience levels when I don’t take it!! I’ve also played with peach leaves in tea, but nothing does me like Peach Leaf Tincture. Here is my favorite one 🙂 May the sweetness of Peach find you and slowly overcome the bitterness in your life!

 

Photo courtesy of Dreamstimes.com

I’ve been drinking: Tea of the week

I generally change teas like underwear, but for the past few weeks I have been struggling with  grief. So everything I have been drinking has been about processing my grief.

Some drink their way through grief. Others cry, journal or create art. Me, I like to eat. You can tell how I am feeling by what’s in my fridge. Look past what’s prominently displayed up front and you’ll see what’s lurking in my heart.

Given that, I’ve gone hard in the paint eating cheese, chocolate and candy corn, what am I drinking to balance it out?  A simple mixture of nettles and dandelion…

Stress & Sugar Tea IMG_3766

1 Part Dried Stinging Nettle Leaf

2 Parts Dried Dandelion Leaf

Parts can be teaspoons or tablespoons. Mix with the intention to love yourself more. Then put one heaping tablespoon into 8 ounces of hot water. Steep at least 7 minutes. Strain & Enjoy 🙂

If you are super curious as to why Nettles and Dandelion.. I find nettles super nurturing and nutritive. It’s like a sweet loving elderly relative who babysits you. They loves you so much that you don’t get into any trouble because you don’t want to give them any trouble. With anyone else you would cut a fool. Nettles (and Oat straw for that matter) love and nurture  me into being kinder to myself. Dandelion is to help my body process all the damn sugar and to help bring me back to reality. Dandelion often offers me a kind kick in the pants. I should be nicer to myself and my body. Life is tough, but let’s not make an even bigger mess than there already is.

My hope is to make a little peace with my body. If I helping it digest the crazy I’ve been putting into it, maybe I can come to digest the reality that my father is dead. We’ll see what comes up. In the meanwhile, enjoy your tea 🙂

They aren't happy with this picture, but they know I do what I can :)
They aren’t happy with this picture, but they know I do what I can 🙂

Edit: Since drinking this tea, I’ve added 1 part Elderflower and 1 part Licorice. Elderflower is helping me keep my energy channeled in positive directions. Licorice is adding the sweetness I crave 🙂

Death’s gift

As I  stumble through grief, I constantly return to a good friend’s advice that death offers a gift. When she first said it, I wanted to sock her. What kind of gift or blessing comes from death? I wouldn’t call my tears, often misguided anger or desire to eat my way out of sadness a blessing to anyone. In fact, I’d call all that a curse.

Often I can’t see the gift because I feel sad, tired, angry or just feel like I should be beyond the stabby part of grieving. However, the gift of my Father’s death is always right there, offering me little goodies when I am not looking. Grief continues to teach me many useful and different things.

Recently, I’ve learned to allow and accept difficult emotions in the midst of chaos. I used to stifle anything that wasn’t pink and fuzzy because that’s who I always imagined myself to be. Now when I feel the darkness of motherhood (heh heh), frustration at another driver, or a general sense of malaise, I don’t stifle that shit. I let it flow. Now that doesn’t mean I go curse anyone or anything out. It means I take a second to acknowledge whatever has popped up, see what it needs from me and move on from there.

Now, I have a 17 month old with me most of the time, so please don’t think I lounge around pondering. But what I do do, is tell Lil Boo what’s up and engage in activities that keep him safe and entertained, but allow me a bit of space. So instead of going to an super intense playground with a ton of parents who will want to talk my ear off, we’ll go to the gardens, or for a walk in a safe place where he can wonder off a bit, but still be safe.

Believe or not, my father’s death has also conferred a sense of freedom for me. I mean,  we are all free, blah blah blah. But you aren’t free if you don’t believe it or feel like it. When my father passed the obligation to stay as a little girl passed with him. I am no longer bound to home in the same way I was as a little girl. I can engage my Mother, Brothers and everyone else in a different way than before because I am no longer anyone’s little girl. Now that my Father is gone, I am a woman; which is odd to say because I feel as old as the hills. But, there it is. I’ve said it. I am finally a woman.

Now whatever comes from grief to you will be different. I am still unpacking what my Father’s death means to me. Knowing him there is much more to come in time. I’ll continue to look forward to what other gifts come in time.

Until next time, Take Precious Care of yourself.

I’ve been drinking: Tea of the week

IMG_3705This week I have been enjoying a nightly combination of elderflower, elderberry, rose buds, rose hips and hawthorn. It’s calmed me down, helped me sleep and supported me in managing a recent barrage of grief.

Okay, a barrage isn’t quite honest. I just.. stopped… grieving for a few weeks. I had developed this little ritual of arriving early to my Sunday morning yoga class, so I could sit in the car, listen to the blues and cry. I cry because I miss my Dad. I cry because no one incarnate loved me and cared for me like he did. And even though I know in my heart of hearts that he is quite happy now that he’s passed on, there is a part of me that can’t let go of the fact that the human being who cared for me first, and most in this whole world ain’t here anymore. Every Sunday I teach prenatal yoga, I would drown in my own tears and then get ready for class.

Until, I got tired of crying and used that time to just enjoy quiet. And then I stopped getting to class so early because my son and husband are cute and I don’t like leaving them all the time.

I thought all the emotion I felt was frustration because lil boo (my son) has decided that screaming at the top of his lungs for an hour was preferable to napping. I mean yeah, that grinds my gears, but it doesn’t induce the levels of stubborn evil I was at.

When I stopped my nightly yoga practice, started waking up in the middle of the night and started hitting the bottle, I knew there was a problem.

So…..I ended up with this tea..

4 parts Elderflower

1 Part Elderberry

1 Part Rose Buds

2 Parts Rose Hips

2 Parts Hawthorn Berry

From my experience, Elderflower is great for directing and managing emotions. I also find that Elderflower is super soothing. It’s my Grandmothers combined in plant form. Hawthorn puts me back in touch with my heart and supports me in expressing my grief. Rose Bud and Hips allow me to be compassionate with myself and others as grief unfolds. This shit ain’t easy and it’s okay. Elderberry is there to keep me from getting sick and feels like it’s supportive to my heart as well. I have a tendency to get sick when emotionally overwhelmed.

Now, I haven’t gotten fully back into my evening practice. But I have been practicing more since I  modified both my morning and evening  practice. I changed which hip opening postures I was doing and eased off the standing postures a bit. I’ve incorporated more restorative postures  because restorative yoga creates space for me. I find that since I don’t always have space to connect with myself, it’s easy to skip out on grieving. Incorporating poses that relax me, help me feel safe and encourage me to be with myself have been super awesome. I also started giving myself more space to talk to Daddy in the morning and cry if I need to 🙂

So this my friends is the tea of the week. If you decided to enjoy some yourself, please let me know how it works for you.

Infinite Blessings

Jeannette