Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The best laid plans....

Sometimes I get sucked into this amazing blog maze of uber-crafty, oh-so-talented moms/homemakers/artists. And I begin to think, because of their chirpy, can-do tone and beautiful "Ta-Da!" pictures, that I, too, can whip out a well-crafted home in the time it takes me to run a load of laundry.
And this virtual encouragement adds fuel to a not-so-closely held secret: I'm a closet crafter. I love to submerse myself into a project and come up hours later with...something. I don't have loads of talent or time, nor have I developed great skills, so my finished products are not usually what I had envisioned, but they make me happy in that crafty "look what I made!" way.

Along with crafts for myself, I often embark upon ambitious craft ideas with my kids. Which almost always go awry. And takes great willpower to keep a positive attitude so as to not quench my childrens' creative joy.

Take last Tuesday for example: it was a snow day. But one of those faux snow days our school calls which means the weather is just unpleasant enough to get administrative types worried about a lawsuit but not bad enough to keep anyone trapped in their home. So we called a friend over for a playdate and I conceived the brilliant idea of having the girls make flowers on sticks.
How perfect; the girls would be occupied while I got a ton of stuff done and the flowers would, of course, be adorable enough decorate with at Easter.
What is wrong with my ever-optimistic brain?!?

After reading through some nifty tutorials, I cut some strips of paper and set the girls up. (I have a lovely box of patterned craft paper from Michaels. This paper is the best random Michaels sale product I ever purchased. It's a never-ending supply - I bought it 3 years ago and am still using it. Better yet - I still like most of the patterns. This weird box of scrapbook paper has been the source of much crafty joy in our house. Thanks, Michaels!)
Once I had cut the paper and given the instructions, I instantly realized that, instead of freeing me up to do the myriad of chores I had to get done, I was now tied to supplying them with information, assistance and supplies.
In fact, 2 hrs later I was the only one still working, as I hot glue-gunned flowers to sticks while deflecting impatient demands from the girls as they cycled through the kitchen in their running games. ("Are you done yet? Can we make more?" The answers, "No and No.").
3 hours later we had 4 flowers done, the table covered in scraps, the rest of the house chaos and no dinner. Hmmm.
But big smiles on the little people!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Detox lesson thus far: Pay attention to what my body tells me.

If I feel great - strong, light, cheerful - after a few days of eating well, that's my body being happy.
If I'm sluggish and want to sit on my bed and stare into space after eating a meal, listen up! My body is struggling to process something I'm digesting.

All the (helpful) detox reading I did had this in common - whether they loved or hated fish oil, pushed the fruits and abstained from all sugar, a recurring theme was: It's your body, it has it's own chemistry and it tells you when it's running well or not... if you listen.

Teaching childbirth class I speak the same theme, but in a different context. My spiel includes a reminder that our bodies know how to grow and birth a baby, even if our minds don't. Otherwise we'd be extinct, right? Kinda common sense that rises when you silence the fear/negativity that surrounds pregnancy and childbirth in our healthcare professions and culture.  So many of my nursing triage calls would answer themselves if people took the time to know and trust their own bodies.

But life is so busy we don't have the time to learn from our bodies, about our bodies. We're running from one thing to another, usually in a car, while talking on a phone and eating. This frenetic activity results in a lack of connection with our physicality. Body awareness is one of the unsung benefits of exercise. I would add that it's helpful to step away from loud music, classes, reps counting or workout targets. Removing the distractions allows us to pay attention to how we feel and what our body thrives on.

And attention is powerful stuff.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Be the change...

It's been roughly a month since I've overhauled my food choices.  My body is talking and I'm trying to keep listening. I'm keeping a vague food/mood journal, which, even in it's meager form, is helpful. In recent days I've eaten a fair amount of foods I suspect my body doesn't process well, and my energy levels are lower than they have been in the past few weeks. Nothing in vast quantities  (ok, except the battered, fried clams on Thursday night - whoa baby.) and no drastic responses, but the signals of low energy, food cravings, irritability and negativity are there.

If I hadn't felt so good, I would think being sluggish and melancholy was normal (after all, it has been for years). However, now I'd like to get back to the light, strong and happy body of a few days ago. The powerful lesson from this month is that my food choices will help get me there.

Reassuringly, my mood has remained stable and positive. Which shows me that as I heal my physical body, my emotional balance now has resiliency.

I don't have a rule book I'm going by. This diet, while perhaps sounding stringent, is not about reaching a goal or pushing myself to be a high achiever in the detox universe - there are no green smoothies in my world. I don't like them. If I liked them, (and had a blender) I would eat them but I don't, so I won't.

It's not about deprivation, misery or body mastery.

It's about living a full and happy life. Being a happy mom, present with my kids. Being kind to our Earth. Thinking clearly, remembering things. Expressing myself. Connected to my body - knowing it is me. I think better, laugh more, run with more joy and have more love to give when there is balance in my physical body.

If you suspect you could make positive changes in your life, go for it. Try it out. When I started this I had nothing to lose, but I had no idea the gains would be so big. Surprise yourself! It's really fun.