Short Poem to Coda

You open your eyes for the first time

and glance at the world anew,

studying every shape, shade, corner;

imprinting in your mind these new surroundings that will become so familiar in time.

You study my face, my eyes, so inquisitive;

your hands you splay in front of your gaze, moving your fingers,

linking movement to sight.

Your smell is a drug, I can’t get enough

of this brand newness, can’t stop breathing you in

greedily.

Wave after wave of euphoria wash over me

as I touch your skin, so soft and warm,

so fresh.

This magical, this mystical

time,

so fleeting, but locked in my heart forever.

Meeting you,

who grew from my egg and his sperm

into a full three-dimensional being

with your own path and your own soul.

I am so blessed to be your caretaker

for now.

I am so blessed to hold you in my arms,

feel my lips on your velvety skin, 

smell you, so new,

with the scent of infinite mother ocean waters

and the gaze of all-seeing wisdom and complete innocence

all wrapped into one.

38 Weeks — My Love/Hate Relationship with Pregnancy

I have two weeks to go, and I realize I have been failing miserably at keeping this blog updated. Of course I’ve been busy working and mothering and being pregnant and all that, but I think what I am really struggling with is not knowing what this blog is about. Is it a semi-professional blog where I share information and tips on gaining psychological wellness? Or is it a personal tell-all journal that I use to process my experiences? So far it appears to be both, and I am not sure how and if they fit together. Because of this, I’ve been confused about what to write, how much to share. I have been completely neglectful, and I have come to realize I just need to write. Whatever. Just write. I can create different blogs later, but in the midst of the lack of clarity: Just. Write.

On my plate now is this miracle of a pregnancy. After two failed attempts, I am now in the home stretch. And what a stretch it is, literally! With my first son, I never enjoyed being pregnant. I was sick through the second trimester, and then constantly experiencing heartburn and discomfort through the third. This time around, I am experiencing both the ups and downs, so I thought I’d share my two lists: how much I love and hate being pregnant, the pros and cons if you will.

What I Hate:

  • So easily fatigued…so much to do and so little energy.
  • Nausea, of course. Thankfully it left (mostly) at 14 weeks this time around.
  • Insomnia. I am so tired, yet some nights I cannot sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time…all…night…long. And those nights are incredibly long.
  • The damn round ligament pain. Every time I go from sitting from standing, or sometimes when I am just walking, the sharp shooting pain in my groin. Ouchie!!!
  • Needing to pee constantly, and drink water constantly, and pee again, and drink more…
  • Pregnancy rhinitis. My nose is so stuffed up, I wake up gasping for air. I have to sleep sitting up to not feel as though I am suffocating. I am going to try some nasal strips tonight. Pray they will help.
  • Heartburn and indigestion. Again, I have to sleep sitting up. There are so many foods I need to avoid, but it doesn’t matter, because I am burping all night every night anyway.
  • So many doctor’s appointments. At this point, I feel like I live there.
  • Body constantly on display. Sometimes I just want to blend in, you know? Yet, anytime I’m in public, people stare, ask questions, and make very personal remarks about the shape and contours of my body. The worst is when strangers think it is okay to touch my stomach.
  • Constricted lungs. This combined with the stuffy nose often makes me feel as if I am going to suffocate. I feel trapped in this too full body, and there is absolutely no escape…just time to get through.
  • Hemorrhoids. Need I say more?
  • The kicks and stretches that push my body beyond what I thought its limits were = the opposite of comfort. Little guy is getting crowded in there.
  • Anxiety and worry. Even if I hadn’t experienced two miscarriages, I would still be the person obsessing about everything that can go wrong. Life is completely miraculous. How does anyone survive the myriad dangers we face every second? There is this little being inside of me. I have so little control over how he turns out, if he comes out alive and healthy, or if something goes fatally wrong. Yet, he already means so much to me. Being pregnant, beyond all else, is such a lesson and reminder of how little control I have over pretty much anything.
  • The anticipation. Not knowing when or how labor will go down. Not knowing if complications will arise. Not knowing how I will deal with any of it. Not knowing.

What I Love:

  • Maternity leave. I just started, and am really getting to enjoy this. Sure, I’m busy as hell preparing for this huge life change, but I am pulling in, focusing on my family, having time to reflect on how I want my life to look in the long-term. Invaluable, this is.
  • Smiles and kind words from strangers. Sometimes I don’t feel like being invisible. And during these times, I really appreciate the warmth that flows to me from so many strangers. I love that feeling of connection, that hope in the sharing of the sacrament of new life. Humanity can be so beautiful.
  • My changing body. I glory in the roundness and fullness. The veins I see crisscrossing my belly and breasts, carrying life blood throughout my body. Embodying the Goddess. What could ever top this?
  • The kicks and motions inside of me that remind me there is a little guy in there. I love feeling those jabs and trying to guess the body parts.
  • The miracle and mystery of this life growing inside of me. Where does it come from? How do the cells know to create this infinitely complex body and all of its parts? And the soul. Where does this come from and how does it get inside of me? Yes, I know: sperm and eggs and DNA and all that…but, the consciousness of this little being. The mystery.
  • The anticipation. It is better than a thousand Christmases. The best surprise ever. The greatest gift. I don’t know when or how, but I know it will be soon, and I hope it all goes well.

The Breakdown:

As you can see, the list of cons is much longer than the list of pros, but obviously the pros greatly outweigh the cons. Yes it’s a hassle, and it’s about the most uncomfortable thing, and I’m not even talking about labor! BUT. When it comes down to it, I think I would put up with almost anything for this payoff. Bringing new life into this world is something that goes way beyond me, and of course I have very little control over it. This is new life we are talking about, people. What an honor and what a privilege. I am humbled and in awe.

And to those of you who want this so much, but aren’t yet here. Please know I have been there as well. I have hoped and lost and grieved and wept. I have watched others go through it, and wondered if it would ever be my turn. I’ve felt that empty barrenness that is so lonely and bitter. And now I am here. Freaked out as hell that something will go wrong, still, and especially now when the stakes are so high, when I am completely and utterly invested in this new life. Please pray for me, and I will do the same for you. May we be blessed with these greatly desired babes in our arms. And most of all, may we be at peace with whatever hand we are dealt. May we find the blessing and the medicine in each lesson.

Funk is not dead.

Super inspiring dance-a-thon for your Tuesday afternoon. I cannot not share this! This little girl has such style and skill.

▲uto F●cus

Six-year-old B-Girl Terra holds it down. I have been totally smitten (and slightly obsessed) with this sultry, groovy and soulful funk-rock extravaganza. 

(Slightly belated) Happy New Year from Tokyo!

Song credit: Platoon by JUNGLE

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The Guest House

Quote

The Kiss of Peace 1869 albumen print 36.0 x 27...

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~

Enlightenment through Dance

ruedaI am a long time believer in dance as a spiritual practice.

I’ve been learning and practicing a form of dance known as salsa rueda de casino, or simply Salsa Rueda for around 10 years now, and I believe it is an addiction I never will shake. Imagine square dancing in a circle, with an infusion of sensual salsa moves. The caller is also a dancer. It’s a playful and flirtatious dance that is about the most fun I have ever had in my life.

This is how I met my partner (in life, parenting, and dance). It is amazing to be able to share this passion with the person I love. It is especially a blessing that he is such a good dancer; I always appreciate coming back to him after a dance with somebody else!

I spent this weekend in San Francisco at the annual Salsa Rueda Festival. Teachers and dancers arrive from all over the country, actually, all over the world. There are 15-20 classes daily, and parties with dance performances and live music each night. May I repeat: so much fun!

My partner and I took a private class Friday with David Huo. He is the man that is responsible for introducing Salsa to China. He is on Chinese TV every day, and is an amazing dancer, stellar teacher, and a very kind person as well. I have a total and complete dance-crush on him. See him here; you will not be disappointed. It will be three minutes well-spent.

Inspired by three great group classes, plus the private with the master above, I headed out for a night of dancing with my partner and friends. About halfway through the night, after numerous dances and I-lost-track-of-how-many shots of tequila, I arrived at this Zen place.

Mindful movement, especially dance, is meditation. I am pure reception when I get into the zone, my ears open to the music, listening for cues that will tell me how to move my body; and my vision and tactile awareness completely tuned into my partner, picking up pulls and pushes and light touches that tell me what to do and where to go. Complete bliss. Total mindfulness. Highly recommended.

New year vision board

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New year vision board

I stayed in for New Years visioning my intentions. Doodling and dreaming, two of my favorite pastimes. What are your intentions for the new year?

Stay Empty

ImageStay empty. Be a vessel, calling to you everything bright and good and beautiful.

Stay empty. Sit with your hunger, feel that ache, and seek to understand it.

Resist the desire to fill yourself with static noise, heavy food, meaningless chatter.

Put down the book. Turn off the TV and computer. Don’t answer the phone.

Go outdoors. Study the full moon. Howl like a wolf, longing for connection. Feel the               yearning.

Stay with the wanting. Don’t give in. Dive deeper into it.

Recognize the many faces of desire. Wanting for intimacy, sex, companionship. Appetite for food, for sweet, for salty. Searching for temporary escape, for alcohol, for drugs. Cravings for distractions, for senseless stories, for entertainment, for gossip.

Dismiss each demand. Remove the many masks, one by one. Don’t run from the sorrow you may discover underneath. Calm the fears, rock the despair to sleep. Listen to it, feel it, learn from it, and let it go.

Stay empty. Feel the wanting bubble up inside of you, insistent to be filled.

Find the deeper desire, the vast openness beneath the desperate demands for illusory things.

There is something that drives all of us to live and to love, and this is it.

Stay empty, until you see this, and then drink and drink, and let this holy water be your guide.

Stay empty, until you know you are already full.Image