Intentions, Sophie and the Sea

December 2, 2012 § 11 Comments

It’s common at the start of a yoga class to set an intention for the day’s practice.

Different from a goal, which is something you work toward with a focus for the future, an intention is meant to give you a focus in the present.

Bruce Black, from Writing Yoga with Bruce Black, explained it far better than I ever could …

“… setting your intention is like drawing an arrow from the quiver of your heart.

You aim the arrow at a distant target, a reflection of your heart’s desire, and with care and mindfulness release the bowstring.

And as the arrow flies toward the target, it draws your heart toward its destiny.”

My intention was set; my arrow aimed at first-born (Sophie) who becomes troubled when I leave for my Friday night trips away (an unhappy agreement made during mediation to give her father more time to parent without my ever-presence).

She cries as I leave, and as I jump into my car and drive away, I can’t help but wonder for how long she feels the pain of my departure.

There is nothing I can do to ease her pain when I’m gone.

At the end of yesterday’s class, prior to a deeply personal moving meditation and an awfully good time spent upside down in playful inversions, the class returned to our backs for quiet savasana.

As proof that I’d set the right intention, the prettiest song came through the speakers above my head; a version of Sea of Love I hadn’t ever heard.

For Sophie I’d set my intention. Now and forever, Cat Power’s Sea of Love will be our song.

M.

Do you set intentions off of the mat? Does a particular song remind you of someone you love?

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A Birthday on Thanksgiving

November 21, 2012 § 6 Comments

Thanksgiving is coming, but instead of being enthusiastic about the holiday itself, I’m excited about celebrating my daughters’ birthday; born five years ago on Thanksgiving day, 2007.

It was a wild ride – pregnancy with twins; months of bed rest, nervous ultrasounds, undetermined blood tests. Especially after several losses.

The fact that my turkeys arrived on Thanksgiving day was like a gift from the stars.

It came with a message that said …

“Here you go. Here is what you wished for. Here is the meaning of your life. These two 4-pounders are your daughters and they’ve been born on Thanksgiving day so that you never forget how grateful you must be for the gift of their lives on this Earth.”

And I was grateful. More grateful than for anything I’d ever received.

And while I was swimming in gratefulness, recovering from a nasty c-section, pulling my IV drip back and forth to the nursery despite pleas from nurses to rest, I was also arguing with my husband and begging nurses to make him leave. We had fought throughout the pregnancy. I never felt loved and I always felt alone when he came around.

We couldn’t get along, even at this most blessed time. Our paths were divergent despite the impending arrival of two growing babies with our DNA.

My divorce has been a long time coming. It is painful and ugly, and strips me of my will to smile whenever I’m in his presence.

But tomorrow I’m determined to (just) be thankful for my girls. They gave me what I always wanted. I wanted to be a mom.

My errands today will revolve around preparations for the celebration. A cake with mermaids will be picked up and their LeapFrog Tablet will be wrapped.

It’s a pretty neat present for a couple of five year olds; easy to get, picked out from Target.

I only wish I was able to give them the best gift of all; the gift of a happy family. Children with happy, intact families are the luckiest of all.

For this, I am ungrateful. Ungrateful, without thanks, and hoping that they never suffer from the knowledge of their unluckiness; the failure of their parents stripping them of what should have been their right.

M.

When your child/children were born, did you feel like it brought you and your spouse closer or did it put more stress on an already strained relationship? What will you be giving thanks for tomorrow around your dinner table?

People often ask how I managed to care for two babies at once. Look at those faces; pure joy, all the time. Their first year was the best time of my life.

Dearest Dixie Chicks

November 9, 2012 § 3 Comments

Dear Dixie Chicks,

Please get back together.

Sincerely,

Three of your biggest fans

Get Inspired

November 6, 2012 § 4 Comments

Searching for inspiration is tough when ho-humnity is the name of your game, and your job is to write things that people want to read.

It’s better, then, to turn off the part of the brain that refuses to cooperate and focus on the activities that generate tidings of comfort and joy.

Here is the plan:

1. The kids and I browsed Pinterest this morning and found a graphic designer named Sarah Walsh whose aesthetic interests (pins) spoke to my brain on the side that doesn’t use words. The kids became so inspired by Sarah’s Illustration Station board that they are currently, quietly content at their own art table creating what I know will be framable works of art.

Somewhere in this messy house of mine is a beautiful set of art pens (hidden so the kids wouldn’t use them, but where could they be?) that I must (MUST) find today. Expression through art is necessary in this time of angst (divorce, divorce, divorce).

2. Outside my windows is a dark grey sky; the kind that makes me wonder if the sun is ever going to rise. No matter, I will be bundling my bod (from top of head to tip of toes) as I exit for an early morning run.

It will probably be brutally cold, hurt on a cellular level, but the results will be warmed blood, a regenerated system, and hopefully some adrenaline to push me through my day.

3. Later today, I’m taking my kids to vote. The lessons that I hope they’ll learn will outweigh the irritation that might occur from bored kids pulling on my clothes or the uncomfortable squeeze and tight proximity of three inside a voting booth.

“Women have rights, girls. They have the right to choose who they think should be the boss of America.Once upon a time women weren’t allowed to vote. People with different colored skin weren’t allowed to vote. Ridiculous, right? I don’t know who is going to win today, girls, but I pray he is able to do a good job. We are lucky to live in the United States of America. We are lucky and blessed to have freedom.”

Freedom. The ultimate inspired thought.

What do you do when you are struggling for inspiration? Do you change your focus or just plow though?

M.

Sophie’s Girl on Swing.

Well Hello There, Tumblr!

October 27, 2012 § 7 Comments

I have recently discovered Tumblr.

Yes, I am late to the party, but finally, I’ve arrived!

If you haven’t yet ventured over to Tumblrland, here is what you’re missing:

1. Imagery, images, imagination.

2. Youngins with clever thoughts and the inclination to express.

3. Pretty templates; much prettier than Pinterest. Less categorization than Pinterest too.

4. Another avenue to expand your reach. We’re not calling it a brand anymore, are we?

Grow with Stacy posted a great piece about how refusing to add photos to your blog can kill your traffic. In it, she covered a lot of information in regard to imagery that I didn’t know (i.e. how to use Flickr to your advantage), and she’s right; humans are visual and images are important.

Since Mommyland (writings, musings, opinions) leads my parade of social media, I will continue to use imagery to create added interest, much in the way that Stacy describes.

Adding Tumblr to my list of social media stopping points (after Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Reader) gives me one more destination on the daily Interwebz calendar of events. The benefit, it appears, is in its ability to open up the window to my soul from a purely visual perspective (there are poems, etc., but the words are far more image rich than the typical blog post).

If you like the idea of a younger audience (be warned, you will come across many a pouting teenage girl – “I vant to be a star”), and love the idea of a visual stream of consciousness approach, log on to Tumblr and follow me.

Hope to see you there …

M.

Body Dysmorphia and the Plus-Sized Revolution

October 26, 2012 § 8 Comments

Confession: Nothing in my closet fits me. My skinny jeans won’t zip and my boyfriend jeans fit like the skinnies used to.

Confession: I haven’t run more than three miles in a month.

Confession: Although there are six days in which it’s feasible to exercise my body, I have chosen to do other things the majority of the time.

Confession: I ate a gigantic spoonful of raw chocolate chip cookie dough from out of the garage refrigerator yesterday, not because I was craving cookie dough, but because I wanted the sugar high to get me through the afternoon.

With all of the back and forth I have going on in my head, in regard to food and exercise and health, it occurred to me more than once this week that in addition, I might be body dysmorphic.

How come?

Twice in the past few days, while feeling low about my size, I happened upon images of plus-sized women that I thought had bodies similar to mine. There is a plus-size revolution occurring and the women being held up as images to admire are nothing short of beautiful.

But, I’m … fat?

Since I’m currently squeezed out of my size 10s, I am furious with my body; angry at myself. Compared to the those plus size goddesses, my image of myself is not as kind.

Body dysmorphia, according to the Mayo Clinic, is described as, “imagined ugliness.” It turns out, upon further research that it is a real mental illness and people with dysmoraphobia often go to extreme lengths to manage their perceptions (plastic surgery, hiding from others, etc.).

While I’m not willing to diagnose myself with full-blown BD, I do think that my perceived flaws are skewed based on my expectations of self, and how I’ve once again slipped from, “I am healthy girl, hear me roar.”

I am stuck, then, between my own expectations of how I think I should look, the expectations of what the world views as acceptable, and the reality of what it’s like to live in my own body.

If I use the functioning part of my brain filled with endless information about health and well-being, I can dig myself, once again, out of this rut.

Solution # 1: I’ve ordered the Tracy Anderson mat series to do through the winter with the goal to firm up, confuse my muscles into performing as they should (again), and hopefully gather new information to write a helpful review, to boot.

Solution # 2: I will not buy any clothing, period, until I have become consistent again on the exercise front. If I then need to accept that I fit better in a bigger size, I will accept it, but not without a fight.

Solution # 3: I’ll try to eat more wisely, but am sticking to my belief that weighing myself is damaging to my psyche. Cutting out food groups will also be avoided, as anything completely off-limits will inevitably lead me to consume entire batches of cookie dough, just because I can.

To combine two of my favorite songs (as an homage to the place that I find myself today), here is a mashup (care of Madonna and Gene Sir Harlan) …

What it feels like for a girl … For a girl in this world.

But I’m doing the best that I can.”

M.

Do you ever think you suffer from body dysmorphia or any other body image related issues? How do you manage? How do you conquer?

Image 4 of ASOS CURVE Exclusive Belted Wrap Top

Asos Curve Plus-Size Belted Wrap Top.

Image from the Size Issue of V Magazine.

Crystal Renn is a size 12. Gorgeous, no?

An image from V's Size Issue

An image from V’s Size Issue. The depths of my love for this picture run deep, but I wouldn’t be caught dead allowing a picture of me like this to surface. Is it my modesty or insecurity? I’m not sure.

Mother Grammar

October 23, 2012 § 5 Comments

My mother and I have a little joke; a spin-off of the phrase, “If it’s not one thing, it’s the other.”

It goes like this:

“If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother!”

My mother and I tease that most of the things utterly wrong with me are the result of being raised by her; the mother God thought I should have (so technically it’s His fault?).

It wasn’t for her lack of trying to steer me straight; she did her absolute best. But I was born stubborn, and you can’t win when trying to challenge fate.

Luckily, there is one commonality (I’m unsure if it should be labeled a personality trait) that has connected daughter to mother; and vice versa.

Good grammar and proper punctuation is the place where we meet when all other places are raging with fire. I am being dramatic; another similarity that we share. We actually agree on quite a lot now that I am a grown woman, and we take pleasure in each others’ horror over the mistakes made by television newscasters and celebrities who care not for the rules of me versus I.

Even still, with my grown-up age to match my slightly, mellowing rebelliousness, we continue to have plenty of arguments of the grammatical sort.

Most recently, I insisted that the word “of” was not necessary after the words “a couple”. “A couple of” is the correct term, in case you were wondering. Just yesterday I finally admitted that she was right all along, to which she requested I repeat the phrase, “You were right, mother,” twice.

In preparation for my next CloudCrowd test, I’ve dusted off mom’s gifted copy of Eats, Shoots and Leaves, and am taking copious notes.

Amazing writing (I’m really having to use my brain), and as predicted by the author, reading it has ignited my inner stickler.

I imagine future blog posts will revolve around the proper use of apostrophes’, and hyphens, and commas. I will try my best to make them as fascinating as I am re-discovering.

To wrap things up, I should mention that I do believe that mothers are responsible for many of our traits and quirks; our triumphs and our failures. In a way, the joke is not really that big of a ha-ha after all.

It is, in my opinion, the true definition of what it means to be a mother; to do your best, and hope for the same, knowing that the chips will fall where they may.

So, thank you, mom. I think you did just fine (I mean, considering what you were working with, and all).

M.

Fellow sticklers. Help me out. Early in Eats, Shoots and Leaves, I found the end marks outside of the quotation marks. I can’t figure out why in the world that could be? I tested it out in line 15, and it feels all wrong.

Did you notice all of my semi-colons? I’m having trouble deciphering if many of them should be commas …

This amazing child refused to open her eyes for the picture. The stubbornness gene did not skip a generation. I have a feeling she’ll take issue with the Oxford comma as I do too.

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