Thursday, March 27, 2014

Self-love

Last week I was in a funk.  I was not feeling well, along with the rest of my family, and I just overall was "blah."  I couldn't shake the feeling and it felt as though I was walking around with a dark cloud over my head.
I was grumpy, irrational and unkind to myself.  It was, to say the least, terrible.

Saturday morning I awoke feeling fresh.  We drove the kids to skating, with the sun shining.  I felt like me.  I even said to hubby: "Oh my gosh, it feels so good to feel like me again!"  I could not believe how, just a few days made me feel completely out of touch with myself. And then, just like that, I felt renewed.
I am sure the glass of wine the night before helped and the much anticipated movie night with the kids.  I am also sure that feeling a bit better physically had a lot to do with it.  It was a combination of things and for all of those combined, I am thankful.

While it was not a great place to be, even for a few short days, it reminded me of the beauty in every day things.  I was once again reminded that the simplicity of a good snuggle with the kids while watching a Friday night movie is truly medicine for my soul.  I was reminded to be gentler on myself and to allow those days to happen when they need to - for they allow me to stay true to myself (we can't all have 100% awesome days every day, can we?) and that it's ok to feel "off" every now and again.
The important thing, I feel, is acknowledging those feelings and accepting them for what they are.  For truly accepting that, for whatever reason, some days are going to be more difficult than others and that's ok.  In fact, it's necessary.  Those days test our patience, our care towards ourselves and our ability to see the light in all things.

Last week was a huge reminder to me that I am too hard on myself.  I was falling asleep at night feeling angry and upset that I wasn't being the most in-tune, aware and kind mother that I should have been.  That I was short with hubby.  That I wasn't kind enough to myself.
My yoga practice was at a zero and by the beginning of this week I felt it.

Yesterday while the kids were playing, I dropped onto the living floor and fell naturally into a yoga rhythm.  It felt so good.  I had Alden climbing on my back some parts and Aubrey playing loudly in the background and you know what? I embraced it.  While it wasn't as long as I would have liked, it was enough, for that day.
At the end of it, I was in final resting pose, savasana, one which I will admit I have often skipped in the past - even though I am fully aware of the importance of it.  It is a time to allow your body to settle and calm after your practice and a time to appreciate and thank yourself.  I did this naturally yesterday and it felt great.  It was what was missing last week.  Not just yoga but self-appreciation.  I laid on my living room floor, eyes closed, kids running around me and I was so thankful.  Thankful for the day.  Thankful for the amazing opportunities that I am being presented with.  Thankful for wishes and dreams and hopes and goals slowly becoming a reality.  But mostly, in that moment, I was thankful to myself.

I felt honored in that moment to be Angela.  Not just mom, wife, daughter, friend and all of those other wonderful, fulfilling roles - but Angela.  Me.  A being that is full of light, love and patience.  That patience is in there somewhere and if I really am still, I get a glimpse of it.  Who would have thought that in the practice of truly slowing down and breathing, patience comes through?

I am making a deep effort to work on patience.  For myself mostly.  I am reminding myself to be patient and to allow things to unfold as they will.
There is something quite magical about the unknown.  And while it has the ability to drive me crazy, I am reminding myself to enjoy the process.  I wont get these days back.  So while I work towards fulfilling my deepest goals and desires, I am remembering that right now, this exact moment is all that we are ever sure of.  It needs to be respected, lived and enjoyed.

This upcoming month is going to be one that is full of excitement. Birthdays, Spring weather and deeper strides taken towards my heart's desires.  I am so excited.
This month I will focus also on being kinder to myself.  I will take more time to truly appreciate and respect my yoga practice, my body and soul and even my more "sour" moods.  They are all there to teach us and guide us.

So, wonderful family and friends - on this Thursday afternoon, I invite you to be kinder to yourself.  You are a lovely being that deserves all the best health and happiness in the world.  Be kind.

Monday, March 10, 2014

good reads, yoga sweats and kitchen downward dog.

I have been on the hunt for the perfect raw aquamarine stone to wear near my throat chakra to help open it up.

 I have been reading books that I am so sucked into, I can't wait until lights out every night to once again be immersed into them.  I just finished The Book Of Negroes and could not put it down.  It was amazing.  It's really wonderful how, when you are fully open and willing, things, people, events come to you as if they have been waiting all along.  That is how I felt about this book.  I wrote it down about a year ago, after it was recommended as a book that had a bit to do with midwifery.  That is the first reason why I bought it.  While the book really didn't hold a lot about midwifery, what it did hold, for me, was still so amazing.
It is a book that is difficult to read at times, due to its raw words and descriptions which immediately bring forth pain to anyone whose eyes fall upon them. However, as I reader, I can say that I have come out of the experience with not only more open eyes, but a more open heart.
I am currently reading this book by Wayne Dyer, and while it is quite repetitive (and I am often wondering if that in itself is intentional) there are some rare pieces of gold in there (as my dear friend pointed out).

I have been visualizing myself doing more yoga and last night I had the loveliest daydream of doing some challenging poses (for me) out in the grass this summer.
While I haven't had the money to attend yoga classes in a studio as often as I would like, I am deeply trying to do it more around the house.
I was super impressed and inspired by this amazing mama who reminded me that I don't need a fancy mat, a super heated room ( although I do LOVE my hot yoga) or certain music to practice yoga.
So, this morning, while I was feeling especially nervous and anxious, I dropped onto the floor in the kitchen into downward dog.  I did a few flows until I could feel my body start to heat up, my muscles awaken and my breath slow down and guide me.  Before I knew it, Alanna was right beside me.  She didn't ask any questions: just joined along for the 9am yoga in the kitchen.  It only lasted a few minutes but it was what I needed in that moment.  I need to do that more.  It also confirmed for me that I do, indeed, need to (and shouldn't be ashamed to) wear yoga pants every day - for you never truly know when the mood will strike you to drop into pigeons pose, and one must always be ready.

I finish off this short Monday post with this:

Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it.

*Rabindranath Tagore


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A little slice of cake

I love the sight of a blank Blogger page, waiting for my words to come pouring onto it.  I recently told a friend that more times than not, I am not even entirely sure where a blog post will take me until I have written it down.  That's when I know.  When I know that I am not writing just for the sake of writing, just because I haven't in a while.  That's when I know that what I am writing is coming straight from the heart.

Gratitude

I just returned back to this post, after having to stop to get lunch for the kids and I and put Alden down for a nap.  While laying in bed with Alden, I was hugely filled with such feelings of gratitude.  As he played with pulled my hair, his breath becoming deeper as he fell into a slumber, I felt so grateful for that moment that I literally felt like my heart was the size of my entire chest.  I can honestly say that I have never allowed myself to be open to the powerful emotion of love to that degree before.  It truly felt like my heart extended from shoulder to shoulder.

I am so grateful for the opportunity I am given each and every day to show and feel love.  Let's stop and think about that for a moment.  Every single moment of our day, we have a choice.  All of us, all the time.  We can choose to truly exude love in all that we do or not.  While some things in our day may not be how we would like to spend that moment, it is our choice to still do it with love in our heart.  Love.  It's a powerful, crazy thing.  And as I am learning to truly open up my heart center (thank you yoga for the reminder), I am seeing and feeling more and more the power of being true to our heart.

I am grateful for random, joke of the day texts from dear friends. Grateful for a good chat with a remarkably strong woman.  Grateful for connecting with like-minded people online, even if it means I may never "meet" half of them.  Sharing your passion with others is truly amazing.
Grateful for new, blossoming friendships that often come when you least expect it, but which I am so thankful for. Grateful for old, deep and strong friendships that stand strong and sturdy as a willow tree.

I am grateful for mornings and nights (like last night and this morning for me) that were tough, "blah" and frustrating because without those, it would be harder for me to see the beauty in every day wonderfulness.

Awe

This simple, three letter word is another deep feeling that I feel compelled to talk about today.
I am truly, truly in awe of everyone around me.  As I sit here and reflect on every single person I know, I can type, with pure confidence and truth, that I am awe-inspired by you all.  Every.single.one.of.us has battles, challenges, and tough decisions to make.  As I reflect on even the last handful of conversations I have had, I can say that I have listened with awe of their strength, their fight, their willingness to work through things, and so on.  I find that today I am constantly stopping my current thought to think of someone else and how truly remarkable they are.

I am in awe of my kids.
 Aubrey, with her solitary kidney who will tell ANYONE that will listen about her "one candy".  She will say how she has to drink lots of water to help her "candy" stay strong.  I am in awe of where she is today, where I truly see her in the future.  She is evidence to me that some things, regardless of how it may look in the beginning, are not always bad.  They just are what they are.  Hearing her talk about her kidney is the same as how she would talk about her doll or a movie.  It it what it is.  I love that.  It is so inspiring.

I am awed by Alanna's personality that often leaves me worried - but then she shows me I don't have to be.  She is quiet when around people she doesn't know well and flushes easily when talked to by an adult she doesn't know.  It makes my heart ache for her.  However, after talking to one of her amazing teachers last week, she made it clear that Alanna, when comfortable in her surroundings is very easy to speak her mind.  I know this but it's so nice to hear it from someone else.  Today she is doing a presentation at school and she chose to talk about Boxer dogs, particularily our dog Dez. I was nervous for her but this morning she bounced out of bed, and was ready and so excited.  That truly made me so proud and inspired by her.  Here is this wise, cautious little girl who, when given the opportunity to talk to 30 of her peers about someone she loves, does so with gusto and excitement.  Amazing.

And then there's Alden.  Everything about him leaves me in awe.  His determination, curiosity and big belly laughs remind me daily to not take things so seriously.  Like when he climbs on the table.  Or on his sister's top bunk.  Or smears his sisters' lip chap all over his face.  He's pretty remarkable.

As I sit and wait...and wait,....and wait....for some news from McMaster, I am being reminded by every person that I encounter to lighten up.  I have been given this incredible life, filled to the brim with love, happiness and great health.  While pursuing midwifery is a passion of mine so deep I feel that it's literally embedded in my heart, it is important for me to stop and remember that things are pretty great as is.
Becoming a midwife is the icing on the cake.  Cream cheese icing, if I can be picky, as it really is the best kind.  And the yummy, kinda healthy, carrot cake in the middle?  That's really what it's all about.


“Those 'back burner' thoughts, the ones the brain isn't quite sure about yet, may cook the slowest yet they often manage to be the tastiest when they come out.” 
― Criss Jami


Monday, January 20, 2014

Loving Energy

As I prepare to hit the ol' sack, I feel compelled to write a quick little blog.  I feel pulled to write about my day today which went from feeling anxious and not myself to ending with deep feelings of content, peace and love.  THOSE are the feelings that I want to have within me front and center at all times.  I so deeply want to get a place where I can accept not so idea situations, feelings of discomfort and anxiety with pureness in my heart and a sound mind.  I, more than anything, want to approach every moment of my life, every interaction with others with grace, acceptance and love.

I am constantly reminded of the love and happiness I am surrounded by.  My kids are the obvious example of this.  Their pure hearts, full bellied laughs and honest questions often remind me that as an adult, I over think things.  They are often asking me, "but why?" and I can admit that sometimes I don't have an answer.  I don't have an answer because what I was telling them they couldn't do or have is unreasonable.  WHY can't they stay up an extra 5 minutes some nights? WHY can't they run around the house, laughing hysterically until they fall over from exhaustion?  WHY can't they have a bath in the middle of the day?
I have convinced myself that we need to have this rigid routine: baths in the evening, set bedtime, don't run around the house too much as someone will get hurt (save it for outside).  But I am seeing more and more every day - my kids are re teaching me - the blessing of being in the moment.  Of not only stepping out of the element once in a while but even more than that, being ok with it.  And even taking it one step further: ENJOYING it.

I am trying to remind myself that these tiny beings are one day going to be full fledged adults.  These amazing little people are just that, people.  They are these bundles of energy that need love and nurturing.  They need cuddles and encouragement, and sure boundaries and rules but mostly - I feel - they need to feel safe while exploring the world.  They need to know that, no matter what adventure they are embarking on - whether it be a new skating class, their first sleep over or first time presenting in front of their class, they are supported and safe.  That, even during times when we aren't there physically, we are still there.  I want to nurture their little souls just as we are taught in this day and age to nurture thier phyiscal needs.  They are hungry, we fed them.  They fall down, we kiss their boo-boo.  They get dirty while playing outside, we give them a bath.  But what about them as beings?  As tiny little bodies with these beautiful, big, un-tainted and pure souls?  I am seeing more and more every day, as I am getting more in touch with my soul and my being that, my children not only deserve but NEED this soul-nurturing.  They need to be told as often as possible that, whatever they are thinking, whatever they are FEELING is true.  I want so deeply for all three of them to fully understand that whatever their heart is telling them to listen to it.  I want them to trust that instinct every single day, in every single situation they are in.

If I think about it and really look, it's clear to see that, in their young age they do this.  They already act on instinct, not wasting time on pondering it, allowing doubt, fears or concerns to slip in.  Children approach everything with such curiosity and pure interest and that is something that I can say I have noticed slips with age - at least in my case.  It is my duty, as their mother, to help guide them - to remind them when needed to trust themselves, to surrender to the process, to trust the process and themselves.
And you know what?  I can't do that properly and honestly as their mother, if I first don't nurture that within myself.

I had a wonderful conversation with a truly remarkable person and we talked about just that: trusting ourselves, nurturing ourselves and loving ourselves FIRST in order to fully provide others with the same thing.  How can we give our love and energy to those around us if we first don't have enough for ourselves?
I am learning over and over and over - and I can finally say that I am listening now - that I need to surround myself with love, and not from other people first, but first from myself.  Only then can I pass that love and energy on to everyone else around me.

Tonight, as I get ready to finish off this cold Monday, I am feeling such intense feelings of gratitude: for my kids reminding me to be present and enjoying every moment, for amazing conversations that allow me to connect not only to others but myself on a deeper level and mostly I am remembering to thank myself.  I am proud of where I am today, where I have come from and where I am heading.  I trust that, as long as I listen to my deep instinct, my heart and my true self, I will continue on this path of self-love, gratitude and deep content.

Whether you are reading this late in the night, early in the morning or well into your day, may it remind you that you are a beautiful soul that is capable of living a life full of love - for not only everyone around you but most importantly, for yourself.  Take a moment to reflect on where you are today - and give yourself credit for how far you have come.  Allow yourself to let go of what you would change and instead remind yourself that without those things, you wouldn't be where you are right in this moment and you wouldn't have learned what you did.  Take comfort in the lesson learned and be prepared to pass that knowledge but mostly, your energy and love to those deserving of it.  You are amazing.



Monday, January 6, 2014

Hopeful Midwifery Student Musings #11

Today I can finally say that my application for the 2014 September start of the MEP at McMaster is complete!  Today is the day that I truly can say I thought was a long time off, if at all, of happening.  Only last Spring was I only half concentrating on getting decent marks to be considered for admission at Ryerson University (with their average being a 70%).  It wasn't until I was almost done two of the three required courses that I truly began to deeply ponder WHY I wasn't choosing to apply to McMaster instead of Ryerson.
I was deeply concerned about the drive to Ryerson from our house every day.  I was planning on applying to the full time program anyways (Ryerson is the only school that offers the Midwifery Program at a part-time rate).  I knew that the reason I wasn't considering McMaster was because I wasn't focusing on my grades enough.
While Ryerson requires the same prerequisite courses to be considered, their minimum to have your letter looked at is 70% - which I was far surpassing in these courses.  But it was that letter that was starting to make me nervous.  I have read from many amazing MEP hopefuls and current students that the letter writing process and then having it looked at and accepted is quite a stressful process - and that many wonderful, amazing, passionate women were writing these amazing letters and not being granted an interview.  I didn't want my chance of being granted an interview to rely soley on that letter.  It scared the crap out of me.

So, I spoke to a few close friends, hubby, and thought deeply about my choices and as I said them out loud to others, the answer was so simple: re take my biology to bring it up to McMaster's marking standards.  McMaster grants interviews to roughly 80 people I am told, out of an anticipated 300 this year.  Those select 80 are chosen purely on the best grades.  So, I decided to take my biology course again and wound up with closer to the 90 that I wanted initially, but still not there: 87%.  I took two courses that can be applied to my Social Science, the most current being my World History in which I earned a 94%.  My English I earned an 88% - something that I feel I could have done much better in, but at the time that I started that one, I was not fully in it (baby boy was a tiny infant).  Either way my average for these courses at this stage are just shy of 90 at 89.75% I believe.  I am hoping and begging the universe that this is enough to be looked at for an interview.  Please!

So, I spoke to admissions today at McMaster and all of my transcripts have been received.  My application online has been received as well as my supplementary application and payment.  Check, check, check and check.  I hung up the phone today after learning that I have OFFICIALLY applied to the McMaster MEP and squealed, jumping up and down.  I was overwhelmed with a feeling of accomplishment and excitement - and those feelings only made me even more excited for the day I receive notice that I have an interview and then finally, the day they accept me into the MEP.  That day.  It is going to be a doozie.  Filled with laughter, screaming, tears, excited phone calls, more tears, and finally a big ol' glass of wine and dinner out with my loves to celebrate.  Al and I have already talked about it - and it helps make this "dream" a reality, thinking of the exact things we will do when this dream finally begins to become a reality.

But really, if I am honest with myself, it already is becoming a reality.  When I was expecting the girls, I would have never ever thought I would be at this point today: applying to McMaster.  Even now, I think of all the challenges, struggles and hard times we are going to face and while it certainly gives me a tad bit of anxiety, I am more consumed by those feelings at the thought of NOT applying.

So now we wait.  We wait to get that amazing email and the even more amazing one after that.  In the meantime I plan on consuming myself in my loves, good books, yoga and friends.  Oh, and I am seriously considering making a stop down at the Midwifery Admissions at Mac and dropping off a box of chocolates - and maybe slip them a few hundreds.  Hey, it couldn't hurt.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

November 11th, 2013 - Musings of Hopeful Midwifery Student

Now is rounding up to the time when I will finally apply to the midwifery program at McMaster.  Now is the time that I start having mini freak outs pretty much hourly, thinking about how freaking exciting but incredibly nerve-wracking this whole process is going to be.
Some people have already applied to their school of choice for midwifery, others (like me) have started the process and still others have not yet started.  The deadline is February 1st and while that seems like forever away, it feels like it is just around the corner.

I have finished my pre-reqs (I may have mentioned this in my last post) and am getting set to write my World History exam.  I just received my last unit mark and I am currently sitting at just shy of 97% walking into exam.  Guys, that's pretty big seeing as I did not learn an ounce of history in high school.  This time I am finding it so fascinating and also, to be honest, a lot of the work that is to be submitted are essays and I can write my way around an essay and thesis pretty well, if I do say so myself.
My deepest goal for this class is to earn a 95%.  That would require me to earn a 90% on the exam.  That means I need to study and study hard.  I need to soak as much as possible about the Reformation, Martin Luther and Winston Churchill.
If I am able to earn my much desired 95% in the class, that would bring my average for my pre-reqs to an even 90%.  Since I started taking my pre-reqs, I have always had my sight set on a 90% and currently am falling a few percent short of that.

Also, in super duper crazy exciting news, I MET INA MAY GASKIN!! I know!!!! It was incredible.  I had the wonderful opportunity to listen to her speak and it was so what I needed.  It was exactly what I needed to re-charge and re-focus and it came at the best time - almost when I am ready to apply to the program.
I may have asked her to sign my journal which - and I quote - "I may obsessively write about you in" - in which she smiled (perhaps a tad nervously) at me.  It was amazing (for me, anyways).
That is pure bliss and excitement on my face.  Ina doesn't look as thrilled (yes, I have decided we are now on a first name basis).

So now it's back to reality and getting this course finished so that I can finish applying.  I am realllly hoping to have it all done by my birthday (which is right before Christmas).  And then it's on to waiting.  Ah, waiting - not my strong point.  Waiting to see if I am lucky enough to be granted an interview.  And if I am, then it's onto waiting FOR the interview and preparing for it.  And then it's onto waiting to hear the results from the interview.  All said and done, that takes us into May and that's if I am even lucky enough to be granted an interview this year.
In the meantime I will study up on the French Revolution - and stare at this photo of myself and my new best pal, Ina May Gaskin.
TH

October 27th, 2013 - Musings of Hopeful Midwifery Student

Welp, I failed at updating more frequently.  Ooops!  In my defense, I have been busy with finishing up courses and you know, taking care of three kids. ;)
In the school department, things are going well.  I have officially finished my three required prereqs (what, what!) and am halfway through a World History class.  Once this class is done, I am calling 'er quits for a few months.  Going to take time to truly enjoy the holiday season and get ready to apply to the MEP (midwifery education program)!!!  I am so so so so excited to FINALLY be applying this year.
While it doesn't feel like long ago that this all started, it also seems like I have been at 'er for a while now.  My dream of becoming a midwife really registered in my mind when our middle one was a babe (she's currently over three years old).  I began taking steps of taking courses to fufil the prereq requirements last summer.  There have been a lot of breaks in between, a lot of late nights and a lot of cups of coffee - and I haven't even gotten into the program yet!
And whether it takes me one, two, or four years to get in, I am determined now more than ever.

Al and I have been talking about what our next step is if I don't get in right away.  While I don't like entertaining that thought too often, I need to be realistic.  The MEP is a tough cookie to get into.  I need to remember that.  EVERYONE applying is just as passionate about midwifery as I am.  Everyone applying would make an amazing midwife and has a great shot.  While that thought can be intimidating at times, more than anything it gets me really excited for the day that I am in the program with like-minded people.  I cannot wait to sit in a class with other birth junkies and absorb everything to do with childbirth.  I am stoked.  THOSE are the thoughts that get me through the fear and anxiety connected with it all.
So, while we haven't gone into too much detail about what we will do if I don't get in this year, we know that it involves doing what I am doing now (taking courses, volunteering and applying again) and it will also need to involve me going back to work for a bit.  You gotta do what you gotta do.
But I am remaining hopeful and optimistic.

I am going to see Ina May Gaskin speak is under two weeks away and I am beyond excited.  I.cannot.wait!!  The McMaster MEP information night is also coming soon.  Eeeek!  It's all becoming so real!