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Archive for November, 2013

Thankful

Someone pass the turkey bone! I have some thanks to give today =)

turkey_bone

I am thankful,
to be alive, but by that I mean not just breathing and waking up each day. I mean really really, like really, alive.

I am thankful,
to be in a position right now to make changes in my life, because I want to and not because I have to.

I am thankful,
that my parents are healthy and have raised me with so much love and the “la la gene.”

I am thankful,
that all three of my sisters are happy and doing well, and in the company of sweet men who love them as much as I do.

I am thankful,
for inheriting my Dad’s passion – for better and for worse – as it’s the driving force behind most of my actions.

I am thankful,
that my friends are incredibly positive, inspiring people who bring so much joy and motivation into my life.

I am thankful,
that I can almost always remember my dreams.

I am thankful,
for my intuition.

I am thankful,
that traveling and living abroad for so many years has opened my mind to other ways of living and thinking.

I am thankful,
for rediscovering yoga, as both my body and mind was needing some flexibility and strength.

I am thankful,
that people feel safe to make themselves vulnerable with me.

I am thankful,
that I have experienced love, deep in the core / cuore – and that I’m fully open to do it again.

I am thankful,
for the epiphany I had in Mexico that changed the course of my life, pushing me towards a profession that allows me the chance to help others and make women feel special and powerful.

I am thankful,
that I believe in the Universe and I believe in myself

THANK YOU to all the amazing people in my life. You above all else make me feel the most thankful, today and everyday.

Thankful

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Joy

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

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After quite an intense month of introspection, hard decisions and transition, I am pleased to say that I feel that intensity slipping away while my more joyful self is dancing her way back up to the surface. The change of late has been really positive, just fairly intense, and I feel like I have been very serious (aka boring) as I do this dedicated and somewhat solitary “self-work.”

Part of the reason I have taken up yoga and meditation again is to allow myself a break from all the mind’s noise and try to center myself a bit. I am pretty crap at meditation, I must admit. I can last about 20 seconds before a thousand thoughts swirl through my head. I try the cloud theory that people keep telling me about, where you focus on an imaginary sky and whenever a thought happens, rather than try to escape it, you see it as a cloud floating by and then return to an empty canvas again. This unfortunately does not work for me. The clouds take shapes and remind me of more thoughts and stories. What does seem to work, however, are mantras. I do not have a great memory for Sanskrit, so I usually make up simple words or phrases in English and just repeat those over and over again, silently to myself. I find I can ignore my thoughts longer doing that.

After writing the post about my gut feelings last week, and subsequent belly and heart issues which led me to go to the doctor to make sure there was not actually something wrong with me, I took a week off of all exercise and yoga. I was afraid of making my oddly palpating heart overwork in an already irregular state. But once I realized that it was probably my nerves making me feel bad, I decided that yoga would probably help and decided to go to class. And I am so glad that I did.

Often at the beginning of class my yoga teacher asks us to make dedications of that day’s practice to someone we know. I sometimes pick family or friends randomly, but last Thursday it was a purposeful decision to dedicate the class to my good friend’s mom who passed away the day before. Her name was Joy. I have such fond and silly memories of her growing up, she was such a sweet and generous woman.

joyInspired by the dedication to her during that class, I naturally and somewhat organically began chanting her name in my mind throughout the class. As the breathing was long and slow and calm, so was her named stretched and emphasized. Jooooooooooy. Jooooooooooy.

By the time class was over, all I felt was pure, genuine joy.

Later in the evening I was blasting music and dancing around my house cleaning, in my underwear. Which is usually what I do when I am feeling pretty good. I was hungry, and made a big meal – no belly ache or heart burn. And when it was time to go to bed, I found that my irregular breathing and heartbeats were steady, and well, just back to normal. And I slept through the night like a baby.

The following day at work I could not stop giggling, and in the evening I went out with some girlfriends for dinner. After making some inappropriate remarks, Natascha rejoiced and sang out, “Yes! Regan is back!” Following dinner, after getting denied entrance to a concert for lack of proper identification, the idea to funky chicken dance bomb some posh clubs came to mind, and we spent the rest of the night trying to make very serious people laugh along with us.

Days later, I am still feeling back to my normal self. Full of joy. Pure silliness. I really think that the dedication to my friend’s mom made some radical change inside of me. Perhaps it resonated, as I too lost a parent too early to cancer. And when this happened, at least for me, I really learned the fragility of life, the beauty of actually being alive. It is certainly a cause for joy and I want to make the most of it. I think there was also something about spending an hour and a half chanting the name “Joy” over and over again that seeped into my bones and shook me.

I enjoy my moments of reflection, and I think it is important to have these quieter moments from time to time. But when my body’s response tells me it is time to lighten up, then I need to. The past few days I have felt great, I am completely back to my silly, giggly self. It is all about balance, finding that healthy space between taking yourself seriously and at the same time realizing that life is just too precious to not live in silly fits of joy.

Thank you, Joy. For the generosity you shared with all of us during your life. And for reminding me to keep the joy alive.

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Lately I’ve been speaking a lot about change, following signs, coincidences and things of this nature. To add to that, you could say that I’m a person that follows her instincts, or gut feelings. In general I would say that my instincts are pretty in tune. I’ve made mistakes and bad choices in my life, no doubt, but in making those choices I also knew it was probably a bad idea from the get go, and went ahead with it anyhow. Meaning, against my instincts. And, voila! That is how lessons are learned!

When I honestly listen to and follow my gut feelings, even when what they are telling me is a little bit scary, life tends to sort itself out in a very positive way and I become a better person as a result. So when my gut was telling me last month to take a big risk – to quit the job that has given me so much security over the past three years, and head back to the USA for a while – I listened. I gave notice at work, and suddenly realized that it was time to come up with a game plan. Luckily I have an incredibly understanding and patient boss (friend first) who did not seem to flinch at the news and sweetly replied that he was surprised I had stayed so long. We’ve had a great run, but both he and I know that my heart’s hopeful work is in birth and I was not going to stay in sales forever. As I began to tell my friends in Barcelona of this new plan, to my surprise, no one really seemed all that surprised! It was as if everyone had seen this coming and I was the last to find out.

October was a big month. I would like to give credit to the stars and planets, as astrology was saying that October was going to throw everyone, all signs, into a spiral and if changes were happening, that they would happen fast. Virgos not excluded! So much has happened in this past month. I’ve made a choice to quit my job and to take the harder path of following my dream to work in birth. I’ve made the choice to leave my easy Barcelona life for a while to head back to a place that until now has been challenging for me – home. I’ve made a choice to fully accept that love is stronger than attachment, and have worked really hard to let go in order for someone else to grow.

butterflies_in_my_stomach_by_bee_ee Not surprisingly, with all these major changes taking place my gut has been doing more than just prompting my instinctual intelligence. As most people, my digestive system is closely connected to my emotions and stress levels. The gut is sometimes called “the little brain”, as it’s the largest area of nerves outside of the brain and is hyper-sensitive. There is a reason we get butterflies in our stomachs when excited or nervous. For me, my gut is both intelligent AND extremely, perhaps overly sensitive to my emotional state. We have a love / hate relationship, me and my gut. Love for being so smart and guiding me along the way, and hate for slowing me down when I want to move fast.

For the past month my digestion has been all out of whack, and this week it has culminated to a point of being quite painful. I have tried over the counter products, and probiotic, doing yoga and exercising, eating healthily, etc. And my reward has only been heart burn, which I have never had before.

While seeking out some natural remedies for my belly ache with a midwife friend of mine yesterday, she got straight to the point –

“Regan, your body is talking to you. Go lightly and gentle. Don’t think of what you can take, but what you can change.” – Oh no, more change!?

“What do you think you are holding on to? Whatever it is, let it go.”

I went on to tell her about all my recent developments, all the ups and downs of this past month. Her response came to me like if Maya Angelou had appeared before me as a midwife –

“Worried you only just dreamed you could fly? Breathe and take flight. Trust Regan in true. Breathe and open, this is birth. Your birth.”

Okay, I can understand birth analogies at this point! So what am I holding on to? What is upsetting my gut? I guess it is hard to let go of the stability and the easy life that I have finally achieved in Barcelona. It is my friends and family in my home here across the pond that I will miss so much. It is fear of being able to take on the complicated path towards midwifery, and even if I want to go that route in the first place. It is fear of moving a bit into unknown territory.

Overall I am happy and super excited about this adventure to come, but I guess it is okay to admit that I am a bit scared too. This is scary! My gut is acting up to remind me to slow down, to feel all these different emotions swirling around, to accept them, nurture them, and once that is all said and done – I really just need to trust in myself. I can totally do this!

My gut feelings are wise all around the board. I should listen to them in moments of love, but especially listen to them in moments of hate when they are trying to settle me down. So for now, I am listening. Just breathe and open. Trust and …

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