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I delved into my yoga course work on my three days off last week.  It sparked some action on my part, I actually practiced yoga at home!  My last monthly yoga pass had run out and with H’s birthday I hadn’t made another commitment yet.  I did about an hour each time and while taking H on walks I would go through a sequence in my head on how I would teach and what I would say.  I recently was talking to my yoga teaching friend and she was telling me how she mirrors the movements, so when she says, “right side,” or “place your right foot,” she is really placing her left side or her left foot.  I immediately thought that was stupid and I wouldn’t do it!  How silly of me, it won’t be about what I want, it will be about what’s best for teaching.  Soon I will be taking off the individual yoga hat and putting on the teacher yoga hat.

The studying kept opening up new pathways in my brain.  At one point I was searching the internet, how old is the earth?  Don’t ask me why.  4 and a half billion, in case you were wondering.  Here are my books:

  • Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali, Translation by Sri Swami Satchidananda
  • The Bhagavad Gita: Krisha’s Counsel in Time of War translation by Barbara Stoler Miller
  • Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff, 2nd Edition

Specifically I’ve been focusing on Yoga Sutras, my teacher instructed to read each one (about a sentence long) first, and then go back and read the translations.  Me being me and not getting that instruction at first just started reading it like I would any other book.  So far it’s mostly about meditation, or that’s what I’ve gleaned the most from it.

I also started flash cards for the poses and their names found in Yoga Anatomy, truly an amazing book full of beautiful illustrations.  There are even sound-it-out examples of the poses which helps to pronounce them.  It’s exciting to think that I have the opportunity to study the proper alignments of poses, and not just guess about them anymore.

So, meditation.  I learned a lot, I was drawn to the 32rd Sutra:

  The practice of concentration on a single subject is the best way to prevent the obstacles and their accompaniment.

Obstacles and their accompaniment being mental distractions that cause distress and despair.  Whatever your ‘subject’ or ‘thing’ is, the interpreter, Sri Swami Satchidananda says to stay with it.  Also, to not judge other people’s ‘things.’  I worked this sutra into my sequence while I walked.  I practiced it while I did yoga at home.  This is what I learned:

I worry a lot!  90% of my ‘obstacles’ were worry, worry, worry.  Worry about the past, that I did and said the wrong thing.  Worry about relationships, that they aren’t what I want them to be.  Worry about the future.  Lots of worry.  This practice of refocusing upon my ‘thing,’ my ‘place,’ really helped me to gain a peace with all of this worry.  Instead of becoming attached to it I thought, perhaps this relationship is how it should be.  What or how can I act to help the better good in this or that situation?  How can I find a peace with my past?  I was able to step outside of the middle of the thought, and to watch and study it before it gave root.

I had a great three days in that my mind was in a very peaceful place.  I meditated while I drove around and while I did other stuff.  If you would have said to me this time last year that I would be back to meditating and doing yoga on my own, I would have given you a very hearty high five.  Yoga has proven again to be such a positive and good force in my life.

Work is in a good place too.  I had some anxiety built up about coming back after those good three days, and it completely dissipated within the first hour I was there.  Just show up, my good friend from LB would say.  My boss and I are communicating well and the office has a pleasant glow.  Truly a miracle.  I had been getting stressed about thinking of working all day on Thursdays and Fridays and then going straight to Portland at night for training.  Leaving H, mostly made me sad.  Now I believe it is manageable.  It’s only for about 5 weeks.

The new Wednesday meeting was great again this past week!  I am very happy about that.  I realized that piece of my sobriety was what I had been searching for since I arrived here.  A decent mixed meeting.  I found you!  I made a friend there, too.  Another woman invited me to ice cream after.  “I can’t.”  I immediately said.  I listed off a couple of reasons.  I didn’t even blink on that response.  One, it shows me that I’ve grown, I don’t just say okay or yes to everyone.  Two, it shows me how antisocial and scared I can be.  If there were just women going I may have gone but the idea that there may be both sexes there?  I don’t want to deal with having male AA friends just yet.  More work still needs to be done!  It takes what it takes?

I signed up to chair on my AA birthday in April, I’m already getting nervous about it, but I know it will be good for me.  My friend from LB is flying up after that, she’ll be able to hang out with my family and H, and to come to my women’s meeting.

Here are the pictures from H’s birthday, the lighter, more professional looking ones were taken by my step-sister, I was so grateful she took a bunch of pictures while I did other stuff:

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My step-dad found these pieces of wood on the side of the rode and brought them home one day a couple weeks before the party.

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You can see by the blurry chalk marks we decided to flip the last two activities to prevent a melt down! But H was great the whole time.

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Photo booth.

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This was a kind of carry over from an idea from my baby shower where I strung up pictures of my various stages of pregnancy. Here, 0-11 months of babyhood. I also posted pictures of some of his ‘firsts’ around the house.

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My other step-sister made these for my step-dad’s 60th. They are both so uber-creative!

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Woodland creatures, mustachios, a beard, hats, and flannels for photo booth.

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The finished product. H is for…?

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This cake stole the show. I asked a local baker if she could recreate on a text one night. She got it absolutely perfect. It tasted amazing too!

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Last minute idea from my mom who decided to add bacon to these donuts. We cooked the bacon right before the party started so that the house would smell like bacon. Me being a vegetarian and not liking so much to eat pigs, just stood by and let it roll in true Lumberjack spirit.

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My mom glue-gunned this guy together one night so we wouldn’t have to worry about assembling or it toppling over.

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Sadly more pigs fell by the wayside. I happily munched on veggie corn dogs.

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Just to prove it really was a cake!

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* S I G H *  Such a fun party to spend months obsessing about and then do my best to create.  Thank goodness for Pinterest, Etsy, & Amazon!

*The tablecloth, photo booth props, fried gummi eggs, straws, plates, cupcake liners, H’s suspenders, lantern, & ect. as I’m sure I left something out were all ordered on Amazon.

*I ordered the happy birthday banner, bear print, name banner & table tents, felted s’more set all from Etsy.  The s’mores set was so incredibly detailed and arrived quickly, I was very impressed.  H can keep playing with it as he gets bigger.  His cousins like playing with it too!

*My step-sister loaned all of the stands, wooden bowl, and plate, my parents have a ‘tree house’ bedroom upstairs so woodland creatures abounded, and I ordered the buffalo print fabric from fabric.com.

Wishing you a worry free life today!

~Namaste

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A PARTY, SOME FRIENDS, AND TOO MUCH SUGAR

We are such complicated creatures.  We have so many layers and long buried memories and old pangs of hurt.  When I came to AA I was scared to enter a public place like a coffee shop.  I was scared everyone was looking at me, that they knew about that tangle of darkness inside of me.  I was so deluded.  I didn’t get that they were too wrapped up in their own lives.  They didn’t care about me!

People started coming up to me after two years.  “Wow, I remember you.  You look up now!  Before you kept your head down all the time and wouldn’t look anyone in the eye!” Yep.  That was me.  And AA changed me.  I went to meetings.  I went to the social outings kicking & screaming.  For me those social outings were like torture.  It was all I could do to keep myself there and not bolt away at any moment.  But they changed me.  I began to laugh.  I got the courage to interject something in the conversation (I still have trouble with this!).  I made friends.  Good friends, friends that didn’t leave me alone at bars.

I worked my steps and made amends.  Step 9 scared me more than any other step, it took me years to compute that they were even possible.  I hate letting people down.  I hate confrontation.  I hate apologizing.  Step 9 changed me too.  I stopped holding grudges.  I began to apologize quickly after I did something.  Stuff stopped festering and some long buried hurts were rooted out. When I pass people at work or on the street I do my best to look them in the eyes, smile, and say, ‘hey.’  AA gave me that.  I don’t always want to but I try my best to do it.

More work still needs to be done.  Or, I should say, ongoing maintenance still needs to be done.  I’ve kept this contrary action thing up, I went to a meeting last Wednesday that I’ve never been too AND LOVED IT.  It’s 10 minutes away from my house!  I’ve heard many of the women at my Monday meeting talk of this meeting and I never took the time to figure out where it was and how to go.  It’s appropriate that it’s lovingly referred to not by it’s name but after a nearby housing community.  Two of my old beloved home groups back in Long Beach were referenced by the street names they were on, instead of the group’s actual name.  One moved like 5-7 times to all different streets but it was still called after that original street name. I felt alright in my own skin at that meeting.  I texted my sponsor after about how much I loved it.  I signed up to chair on my 7 years in April.  I realized the people pleaser inside would make me go so people there wouldn’t think I just came on my birthday.  It takes what it takes I guess.

Having my friends and H’s Grandma here over his birthday weekend was great.  It was a lot too and I called my sponsor the other night to hash it all out.  That was my other contrary action, instead of spinning about everything (I’m a professional mental spinner!), I talked to her instead. What it all came down to was my character defect of perfectionism.  This is why I love party planning so much.  I can manipulate and plan.  I have control.  I can perfect it.  Relationships, people, and myself, those are things that are perfectly imperfect.  I still have such a hard time with things not being ‘perfect.’  Of things not going the way I envision.

The time spent with friends and family was great!  I hate that I dwell on this or that, replay scenes or stuff I’ve said over and over, dissecting it.  Judging myself about it.  It was good that I talked to my sponsor.  She helped me gain a new perspective.

And….I’m way over sugar.  I decompressed last week after everyone left by hanging out with H, not going to yoga, and eating all of the leftover s’more pops, pancake cake, maple syrup cupcakes, ect.  I didn’t really eat all of it, I brought some to my AA meetings!  At one point my stomach felt like I was 5 months pregnant!  I don’t overly judge myself when I do this, usually it’s because I’m spinning about something and it distracts me.  I never want to have an eating disorder again so I try to be gentle with myself & food.  But tons of sugar makes me feel sick too, so some walking away from it & prayer needs to be done too!

One of my friends stayed an extra day and we went to Multnomah Falls and downtown Portland: ??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????

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My friend really loves what she calls, ‘weeping walls’ like this.

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We drove to Portland from the falls.  We were to be gone for about 6-7 hours so I brought my pump.  I’ve never given a thought to how there aren’t outlets available in a lot of public restrooms, or perhaps the first two I tried just didn’t have any?  It takes me just 10 minutes to pump, but I need an outlet!  Powell’s Books tried, they directed my to a somewhat private nook of the store.  Wasn’t happening though!  I put the pump back in my friend’s car, I gave up.  We wandered on to some very Portlandian stores and came across this one: DSC02267 DSC02268 They helped out!  The sweet shop girl asked us how we were when we entered and my friend being the friend she is started telling her about my pump situation.  She said, ‘You can pump in our bitchen!”  A ‘bitchen’ evidently is a kitchen/bathroom. So I pumped!  Very cool bitchen, I was entertained while pumping by all of the interesting stuff on the walls:

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Real good thing I don’t do drugs anymore…

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THIS made me really happy.

The store carries some very hip and modern clothes and accessories.  It was #internationalwomensday as well!  Go women!  Thank you to the store for helping a mama out!  Class act. We headed to the food carts: DSC02269 DSC02270 DSC02271 Turned one corner and saw this guy, really scared the bleep out of me.  It reminded me of the way my son reacts to our exercise ball.  I literally grabbed my friends arm and nestled into her side!

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To round out the evening we bypassed the line at Voodoos and grabbed some mini donuts (more sugar!) from the Donut Byte Labs food cart:

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Dude left a corporate job to start this food cart, very cool.

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Highly recommend the “Burnside Cream,” a twist on the classic Boston Cream Cake.

Lastly, here are some pics from my drive to the yoga studio I’ve been going to.  I managed to leave early one day and grab my camera:

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Lovely, eh?  The love affair with Oregon continues.  I will post lumberjack party pictures once I get them!

A NEW SEASON

The days are getting longer, it’s been sunny here the last couple days, and trees are in bloom!  Early Spring or global warming?  I guess it depends on which way you’re looking at it…I don’t remember all of the crazy gorgeous blooming trees, that look like flower bombs have gone off on the side of the road last year, but I was occupied with a newborn.

I went to my new Saturday meeting yesterday on my lunch break even though I really wanted to micro manage H’s birthday instead.  I’m keeping up with this new contrary action thing for now.  I don’t feel like doing something, but I go do it anyways.  I didn’t feel like going to yoga last week, but I did anyways.  I feel like those actions have given me a little more of an edge.  I’ve managed over the last week to say the third step prayer on my knees after awakening AND read some spiritual books before getting H up.  Wow, just wow is all I can think.  It feels like there is even more space to mentally relax.  That negative voice in my head is quieter.  I hope I can not only keep this up but do more in the future.  One of the women in my Monday meeting pulled me aside some months ago and told me, you know you won’t be able to be a good mom or anything else unless you take care of yourself first don’t you?  I nodded at her, but the truth was I wasn’t getting that at that time.  I was just going, going, going.  Her comment has stayed with me, thank god for the power of AA, and well timed advice.  How did I forget that if I don’t put my sobriety/spirituality first, everything else suffers?

It’s been almost a year since H was born, which is a backwards way of saying that my son is almost one!  I still can’t believe it and can believe it at the same time.  Like I have felt this past year to the max.  I have cried, I have been sleep deprived, I have been sick more times than I have over the past five years.  I even developed some kind of crazy lip allergy right after he was born.  I was diagnosed after itching at tiny red blisters all day and all night as having a toothpaste and dental floss allergy!

And I have cried with wonder, have had my heart leap in my chest at his birth, have discovered the joy of putting someone’s needs before my own, and have basically felt close to combustible when I think about how much I love my son.  I twirl him around in a circle and he smiles.  He also likes to be held upside down, his stuffed animals doing impressions, snapping (yes, he snaps at stuff he wants), music, baths, hummus, and patty cake.  That stuff is just a glimpse.  He already has a multifaceted little personality, he is already complicated in ways I don’t understand.

I dug up an email I wrote to my friends last year on 3/11/14:

     Around 11am I began to get a feeling like he had to come out now. I called the nurses and told them this and I began to push. Twice they asked me if I wanted to feel H’s head and incredulously I reached down to feel his head beginning to come out! My pushes were off though and the nurse came up with a bar that I could push my legs again while pulling on towels wrapped around the bar. That really helped, my arms are still sore! I close my eyes while I pushed, always when a contraction came. They kept saying, “Good job, you’re almost there!” But he still wasn’t out. It felt like forever, but the pushing part only lasted for 40 minutes. It seemed like the mid-wife came in 5 minutes before he came out, they said, “Push! Breathe! Push! He’s coming out! He’s coming out!” And H came out, they laid him on my chest, and he was crying loudly. I started crying too and my Mom was right there with us both. It was definitely the best moment of my life. All of the morning sickness, gaining weight, lethargy, discomfort, and actual labor was worth it. I had my little baby boy! He was so cute (I’m sure it’s because I’m his Mom) and had ten fingers and ten toes. I was very surprised that someone so perfect came out of me!

TMI, on some fronts I know.  It was good to read that email, good to remember it.  I had forgotten the nurse’s name, Lea who stayed with me that night.  She respected my wish to not have drugs and was very encouraging.  I wrote in the email that I don’t remember if I said goodbye.  I didn’t because it was during one of the brief times I managed to fall asleep.  I sent her a card with a picture of H later.  There are nurses, and then there are good nurses, and I’m glad she was with me that painful night.

I just couldn’t believe that he came out so beautiful, like an actual human baby.  I felt and feel overwhelmingly grateful that I have had the chance to be his mother.  It’s something I have always wanted whether I chose to identify with it or not in the past, and I really hope that as he grows and changes, that I can grow and change too.

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The two times I took pictures happened to be in the evening before complete dark (above) and the early morning (below).  The light looks almost the same.

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I’m supposed to talk with my new boss/teacher about the yoga blogging this week.  I’m anxious to get started, writing, editing, and hopefully have some posts that will be what they are looking for.  I’m glad to have this blog where I can write about anything.  I’ve been doing poses when I’m home with H, but am anxious as well to have a real solid practice back in the near future.  My body feels better and stronger, and I want more of that feeling.

It will be a crazy week with his birthday, grandma, and friends flying in, but I am looking forward to having everyone over.  I have planned as much as I think I can plan, I pick up the rest of the food this week along with his pancake cake (yes, a pancake cake!), and I have to make some maple syrup cupcakes.  I can’t wait to see all of the decorations and food together, that part of the party planning is my favorite!  I always feel a little deflated when an event is over.

He will only be one once.  I hope I can ride out the wave of this new season smoothly and be ready for the next one.