Listening meditation: Blackstone Woods

Here, for your listening pleasure, is a one-minute audio file of the background noise I heard on a walk to nearby Blackstone Woods. You can hear birds chirping, water rushing (the bench I found is on a bluff about 20 feet above the Blackstone River in Providence) and the dull roar of 195 in the distance.

When you listen to it, soften your ears and invite your eardrums to register every little nuance of noise. It’s a simple, soothing meditation. The first of what I hope will be many!

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Plan for No Plans

We didn’t do anything yesterday, and it was divine. Well, I should be clear: We didn’t have anything planned for yesterday. And as a result, we did a number of fantastic things:

  • Snuggled on the couch
  • Played restaurant in the backyard
  • Futzed around in the garden
  • Finished our weekly laundry project in record time
  • Took naps
  • Watched “Chicken Run”
  • Ordered in Indian food for dinner
  • Got to bed at a decent hour

It was just what the doctor ordered, and it didn’t happen by accident.

Read more…

Energy Exchange

It’s summer. (Mostly — as I write this, it is chilly and overcast.) My youngest is now 2. What do these things have to do with one another?

I want my beach body back.

Well, I’ve been wanting my beach body back pretty much since the day Teddy was born, but I’ve been on a long and winding path of emotions. First, I was patient. Then I was too tired to care. Next came a long cycle of denial (“If I just pull up my pants a little higher, voila, le muffintop disappears!”) interspersed with dejection (“My bikini days are over, waah.”)

I wanted to do something about it, I really did, but there were so many other things to do — sleep, work, make dinner for the kids, sweep, do yoga in my closet whenever 20 minutes fell in to my lap. I felt I didn’t have the bandwidth to take on slimming down. Just contemplating working out and eating salads felt so tiring.

A couple weeks ago, I had an epiphany. Exercising and making healthier food choices didn’t have to require a lot of new energy. I was already spending plenty of energy on either willing myself not to see how I truly looked (I can spend a lot of the time in the  mirror poufing my shirt just so) or feeling bad about it. All I had to do was take that energy I was already spending on feeling bad and use it toward healthier pursuits.

Just that shift in how I thought about losing weight has made it feel easy to exercise for at least 45 minutes most days of the week. Or to take 2 minutes to think about something healthier to eat than just making myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich because that’s what I was making for the kids. It’s been like trading in a heavy jar of pennies and getting crisp dollar bills in return — same currency, way different feel.

I’m down 2 pounds so far, but shedding those stale beliefs that my only options were to feel bad about my mummy tummy or to pretend it wasn’t there feels like I’ve gotten a pretty big monkey off my back.

And so my question to you is this: What if it were possible to enjoy something you typically dread?


Anxiety, Yay!

“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.” — Charles Spurgeon

Two weekends ago, we took the kids camping for the first time. We went with three other families, and a couple of the other mothers were completely anxiety-stricken about the trip: Would the kids sleep? Would our cellphones work if something went wrong? What if we can’t figure out how to set up our tents? How do you work a camp stove?

We were only going for one night, mind you, and we were car camping — we weren’t going to be lacking for much (save non-porta-potty toilets). These well-meaning ladies knew there was nothing really to worry about. Yet they couldn’t shake their pervasive sense of dread. There were lots of late-night emails leading up to the trip. Sleeping pills were involved.

(Disclaimer: I get anxiety about lots of things — dirty bombs, making cold calls, lice, cooking meat enough to kill bacteria. I in no way mean to belittle the experience of anxiety. I know it can be very serious and debilitating. This post is about your everyday variety of anxiety.) Read more…

7 ways to do yoga with kids around

It’s oh so tempting to think you have to wait until the kids are asleep or out of the house to do anything nice for yourself. I have definitely fallen prey to this line of thinking in the past. But now I want to go on record as saying: stop the madness. If you wait until the kids aren’t your responsibility to do your yoga (or meditation, or self-hypnosis, or painting along with Bob Ross–whatever gets you in to your happy place), you will be waiting a long time. Too long.

My little yoga haven (aka, "our closet") as seen through it's most important component — the door

There are more holes in this line of thinking than a pair of fishnet stockings. Allow me to point out just a few:

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Letting it slide

This week, my former bestie*, hard-drivin’ fitness guru, Jillian Michaels, admitted in a People magazine article that she’d been too hard on Moms when she used to tell them that getting back in shape was as easy as putting themselves first.

Jillian’s a-ha moment came because she recently adopted a baby and her partner gave birth to a child 6 weeks later. Since the kids’ arrival, she said she hadn’t been to the gym in 2 weeks and had started drinking coffee again because she needed the caffeine. Basically, she started doing some of the things she used to yell — and I do mean yell — at people for doing. Read more…

Peony Pranayama

Sniffing this beauty is my mind-body practice for the day… Read more…

Monday mantra: Embrace the New

My windowsill seedlings, who are ready to join their brethren outside

Last night was a new moon/solar eclipse double-whammy powerhouse of clearing old stuff out of our life in order to make way for the new and better stuff. (Check out Susan Miller’s article on How to Deal with Eclipsesfor more info.)

Which has got me thinking about how I/we can lose some of the drama that change always brings up. That’s why my weekly mantra this week is: Embrace the New. Read more…

The Mother’s Wisdom Deck

Big changes are happening for all the women in my family–my Mom is retiring and moving to Providence to be near us, my grandmother is moving out of her home and in to assisted living, and my 4-year-old daughter is, well, 4 years old and thus making huge mental and emotional shifts on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis. As for me, I’m blogging for the very first time. (Despite having launched a whopping 8 years ago!) Read more…

The Corpse Pose That Almost Wasn’t

This morning was one of those rare — like, white buffalo rare — days where I woke up before the kids. Even though it was a “mommy morning” (hubs and I alternate the early parenting shift), I managed to get my butt out of bed and on to the mat for a lovely, gentle practice that was mostly about being on the floor and giving a shot of oil to my Tin Man hips. (Reclined hand to big toe pose, crescent pose, cobbler pose, pigeon pose, with a couple of downdogs thrown in for good measure.) Read more…

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