On Health: My Must Do’s

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Since becoming a mom almost nine months ago I know one thing for sure: I cannot skimp on my health rituals even the slightest bit. With the lack of sleep and the amount of daycare germs it’s imperative that I take care of me so I can take care of my family.

Here are three of my must dos:

Take Nature’s Way Immune Blend and Chaga: I take both of these supplements every single day. Immune Blend harnesses the power of ancient wisdom by creating an immune blend of 6 diverse mushrooms to support your immune system. And this Chaga grows in the birch groves of Finland. It is wild harvested to support antioxidant pathways. I swear these two have prevented many, many colds!

Meditate: I sit for meditation every day. Whether it’s for five minutes or twenty it makes such a different in my mental and physical health. By getting off the rollercoaster of my thoughts I press pause.

Drink Maca: I drink Maca every morning after my cup of matcha. Maca is naturally energizing and helps to balance hormones.

What do you do every day for your health?

The Gift of "I Don't Know"

The moment I wake up, I pad down the stairs and stand in the nursery. Light floods in through the window over the crib. I glance at the Ganesha statues and elephants I’ve nestled in every possible corner in hopes of removing some of the unseen obstacles that no doubt lay before us.

I will become a mom in the coming weeks. Like most new mothers, I’m nesting and excited and scared. Though unlike most new moms, this baby is not with me now. I haven’t had headphones on my growing belly, sending early good vibes from Van Morrison. I haven’t felt any kicks. I haven’t seen any sure signs of there you are.

That’s because my husband, Matt, and I will be brand-new foster parents, and we’re currently waiting for the call. Every time the phone rings, my hand goes instinctively to my heart. This could be it. While all new parents have no idea who they will meet until their little being arrives, we are preparing to foster children who’ll come into our home for a week, a few months, a year, and hopefully even longer, eventually adopting a child—or children—who will become part of our family. And now, after holding more anticipation than I could’ve ever imagined, all we can do is wait.

Matt and I started the journey to becoming parents last year. When we didn’t conceive, we saw a fertility specialist who recommended intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). That appointment was immediately followed by another with a financial advisor, who threw a lot of (big) numbers at us. Because so much was still unknown—we hadn’t spent that much time trying to conceive, and I hadn’t seen any of the alternative practitioners my friends had recommended—the paths being presented to us didn’t feel quite right. So we left, got an ice cream cone, and tabled the baby conversation.

A few days later, Matt and I were on a walk when I asked him, “What do you think about adoption?”

He looked at me with big eyes and said, “I think it’s beautiful.”

“Yeah, me too,” I replied with a big smile. “Really beautiful.”

Fast forward a few weeks and we’d sought the advice of a student of mine, named Taylor, who is a foster-adoption lawyer. She’d been coming to my classes for years, always setting up her mat front and center. Life is like that, not letting you miss the important people who will change everything. After talking to Taylor, Matt and I met with a foster-adoption agency and made the big, scary, beautiful decision to become foster parents. With more than 34,000 children receiving services in Los Angeles, where we live, we thought surely a few of these kiddos were looking for us as much as we were looking for them.

In addition to the unknowns all parents face, we’re staring down a few more. We’re not sure how old our baby will be, and we won’t know the gender, race, or even what kind of prenatal care this baby’s birth mama received. We may foster a baby who is ultimately reunited with his or her birth parents; we hope to foster a child who we’ll ultimately adopt. We will ask questions and get some answers, and amid all of the uncertainty, what we know for sure is that this will be an education in trust. Trust that no matter what happens, we will be united with this child who we thought my body would carry and who our hearts have always wanted to hold.

Back in the nursery that morning, as I looked into the crib and wondered about the baby who’d soon lie in it, I silently repeated my new mantra—I don’t know—a phrase that’s offered me more hope and comfort than I’d ever imagined it could.

When we met with a social worker to talk about the foster system, she warned us, “You’ll fall in love, and you might get hurt.” Scary, to be sure, but isn’t this true of so many things in life? After all, so much of what’s worth doing is a messy path for the heart.

I’ve spent most of my life bracing myself for the impacts of those messes. These days, I’m choosing to dance with uncertainty.

Becoming a foster parent feels a bit like a free fall, and of course one part of me wants to engage with the countless worries and what-ifs. Yet more of me is tapping some well of wisdom I didn’t even know I had, and one day at a time—even one hour at a time—I’m simply putting one foot in front of the other, trying to make the next right choice. And with my eyes and heart wide open, I’m reveling in the I don’t know. 
 

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This originally appeared in the March 2018 print edition of Yoga Journal.

Full of Adventure and Wearing A Lot of Hats

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I think this photo really sums up my 34th trip around the sun. Full of adventure and wearing a lot of hats. (Maybe lugging some baggage too but I’m gonna stick with the first two. 🙄)

I’m spending this week, in between changing diapers and solo parenting, reflecting on what worked and what didn’t this past year as I turn 35 on Sunday.

I’m inviting in more simplicity this coming year. Even if it’s not occurring circumstantially (hello foster care!) simplifying what I can and moving toward what feels good and supportive, physically, mentally and energetically.

Us Virgos love reflection and my soul is asking for more of it. Less focus on pleasing others or getting “gold stars” and way more focus on simplicity, nourishment and, dare I say it, EASE.

I truly love getting older. Bring on the laugh lines and the expanded heart and all the lessons.

In Gratitude

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For my upcoming trip to the Rocky Mountains. (I picked this photo because I'm dreaming of cold weather.)
For my new shiny gold birthday Birkenstocks.
For almost (!) Virgo season. My planning and visioning has been at an all-time high.
For Ella Mai and Cautious Clay. In major rotation right now.
For miracles. There have been a lot of them in our life as of late.
For little beach getaways with my family.
For dreaming about the future and where we are headed.

It's Not my job to manage your perception of me

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"It’s not my job to manage your perception of me.”

When I heard these words on a podcast with Brooke Castillo I stopped in my tracks. I wrote it down. I meditated on it. And honestly come back to this simple phrase every single day.

I explain myself a lot. I notice myself framing parts of my life, namely foster care, sobriety and marriage, as a way to “figure” it all out. I like things to be tidy and to make sense but in all honestly I’ve never said “I don’t know” more.

We are meant to evolve. We are absolutely allowed to change our minds. It is not our job to manage (nor is it even slightly possible) what others think of us.

My job is live authentically and wholeheartedly and as present as possible. And stay in my lane. That’s your job too.

On Ritual: Yoga, Meditation and Scribbling to Bliss ​

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I used to have a lot of free time.

This was completely lost one me of course. I cringe now thinking of the many, many times I complained about travel or my to-do list. The irony is that my life is much more "full" these days but I'm also way more grateful and fulfilled. 

Before baby boy came I took the month of November to ground in my rituals. I remember saying to my best friend that I was going to meditate every single day and not drink coffee so that I continued that when our little kiddo arrived from foster care. “Sounds good,” she said. I have no doubt there was a major eyebrow raise on the other end of the phone.

And then he came, seven days old and so much younger we expected. Just like that my morning rituals flew out the window. For a few months there I could hardly differentiate morning from mid-day. "Groundhogs day" my husband would call it, pulling us out the door for a midday walk.

It has taken several months to recalibrate, to meet myself where I'm at. Between sleep deprivation and living with this high level of uncertainty, I wasn’t exactly feeling like myself, (In fact I taught a yoga class about five weeks in and taught the same side three times in a row.. Microphone and all. My friend Allyson finally pulled me aside and said, “Are you okay!?" Ah, to be human..)

And now about seven months into mamahood and a very new version of myself I’m remembering what’s absolutely imperative, and non-negotiable, for my self care. Here's what is feeling like nourishment.

Less Phone: I use an app called Freedom. Ironic that I'd use an app to cut my phone time but it has helped so much. Every night my phone goes on "lock mode" at 8 pm and doesn't unlock until 7 am. I can text or take phone calls in an emergency but I can't look at apps, web browser, etc. It's been beyond helpful and you truly can't unlock it so it helps if you're like me and your willpower in the phone department is ... lacking.

Meditation: I’m working with an amazing life coach and she has me committed to meditating every single day. Today is Day 39 and I sit every morning, sometimes again in the afternoon as well. I want to do this for the rest of my life. Whether I'm in complete silence or the little guy is crawling all over me I sit. It's a non-negotiable now and has created space for me to feel much clearer, more trusting and "held."

Movement: I'm finally getting back into a movement practice. I try to work out 3-4 days a week whether that's a long hike, a sweaty yoga practice, Pilates, spin, etc. It's been awhile and it feels so good to be back in my body and feel some endorphins.

Reading: I recently got a library card and downloaded the app "Libby" on my iPad. Currently loving YA and mystery novels. Send any rec's my way!

Coffee Shop Days: Every Monday I pack up my laptop, my headphones and my English bulldog Rosy and we head to a coffee shop to sit outside and get a whole lotta work done. I spend a good amount of time writing and scribbling and getting clear on my intention for the week. Giving myself Mondays to ease into the week has been so rewarding and something I truly look forward to.

What are your favorite rituals? What's feeling good to you as of late?

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