Ayurveda methods to restore balance

I’ve been blogging this week about my personal journey to restore vitality and heath, so far sharing a bit about the need to balance our inner masculine and feminine and also the call for purification of our body. I talked a little bit about Ayurveda yesterday and wanted to share more of the nuts and bolts about ways to use those techniques (and others).

One of the biggest game changers for me was meeting with an Ayurveda practitioner who did an in depth consult on my Dosha, health history and challenges. She gave me a ton of recommendations, and what I realized was that some of the lifestyle changes I was making with diet and sleep alone weren’t likely to fully bring me back in balance (at least not for a long while). She told me that I probably needed a good detox and also a number of Ayurveda herbs to help do just that.

I’ll admit that was a little skeptical at first about the detox because I’m not on the cayenne pepper and water bandwagon! However, what she recommended was actually a holistic all natural product (offered by DrNatura) that you mix with water or a smoothie and take each day, while eating food just like normal. (Though if you can eat organic/natural along with it even better!). In addition she recommended a range of Ayurveda herbs that supported bringing my body back in balance based on my own health challenges.

I wasn’t sure what to expect about the cleanse, but I tried it because what did I have to lose? I did the full month protocol and didn’t notice too much of a difference until I hit day 30 and all of a sudden I felt a huge shift — a major boost in energy and I felt way more grounded. I continued to take the herbs and still take some of them; one of the other big shifts was that I was no longer constipated! This matters a LOT with Ayurveda. The reason is that Ayurveda is very concerned with finding all sorts of ways to remove toxins from the body. The organs of elimination are what remove all the ick from our body; if they aren’t functioning and all that stays stuck in our body it will make us ill.

Some of the other self-care practices include tongue scraping (using a tool to scrape the ick off your tongue, again so you can remove toxins that build up there!) and using oil for self-massage, a practice called Abhyanga. This nurturing practice of massaging warm oil on your body has a huge range of heath benefits – some are listed here. I personally have to say that is is a beautiful practice! It calms the nerves, is really soothing and I personally noticed benefits with sleep, healthier hair, and more. Both of these practices are so easy to do and affordable. You can buy a tongue scraper inexpensively online or from a wellness store, and oil massage costs nothing more than purchasing the oil (and if you are fancy you can get an oil warmer too!) Just first check to see which type oil is recommended for your Dosha. You can see the recommended oils for each Dosha in this article from the Chopra Center.

If you are looking for ways to nurture your divine feminine essence, Ayurveda has so many beautiful ideas that do just that. The oil massage for sure is one of them, but they promote practices such as meditation, putting flowers in your home to increase beauty, and engaging in beauty rituals like masks that make your feel sensual and nourished. Show me a Western health practitioner who would recommend any of those!

I hope you enjoyed this little exploration of Ayurveda. I have some non-Ayurveda tips I’ll be sharing tomorrow if this isn’t your cup of tea!

Blogging series on reclaiming vitality and joy!

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A journey to reclaim vitality and joy

Two years ago I was so tired that I barely made it through the work day. I had ZERO energy left over for playing with my daughter or keeping up with the tasks of life. I was cranky, drinking too much coffee (which only made me feel worse!) and despite all that coffee I was never pooping! (Constipation, it turns out, matters in this story. Bear with me.) My hair was starting to fall out – not a lot but enough that I was concerned because ew! That is not normal. I was sick all the time, which at the time I blamed on having a small child in daycare but in retrospect, nope. That wasn’t the full story.

The wake up call came when I found myself sitting across the desk from an infertility doctor being told that I was so infertile I didn’t even qualify for IVF. Well, that got my attention. Women are creators by nature, and if my womb couldn’t create a child then something in me was way, way off. I knew this deep in my bones.

That moment in the doctor’s office was a turning point and one I’m grateful for now. (Though at the time I was screaming with the universe about this, no doubt about that!)

I recently came across my journal from that time and I’d written down two goals moving forward: I wanted to restore vitality and joy within myself. When I reread this I think I gasped a little — because here I am, a year and a half later and I can tell you that yes, I’ve found my way to this place most certainly. I have tons of energy from the moment I wake to the time I go to bed. I rarely if ever get sick. But more importantly, I feel like the life force has returned in me! I am living life rather than being lived by it.

I’m called to share this journey because so much has been given and it’s time to pay it forward. What is happening to one woman is happening to us all in some way or another. It’s practically an ethos in the United States (where I live) that to be a modern woman is to be frazzled, overworked, over-tired and spent. WHAT GIVES. That is seriously messed up!

My path may differ from your own — you may never have faced infertility, and imbalance in your life may present so much differently than my own — but I also know that the wisdom, teachings, healing modalities are available for all of us and don’t only apply to me and my own little situation. I’m blogging daily this week to share some of this journey. Please feel free to comment and share your own experiences or to ask questions! Share a post if you feel called to do so.

What do you say? Ready to reclaim the vitality and joy that are your birthright?

Blogging series on reclaiming vitality and joy!

Just Follow the Joy on Facebook & Instagram!

I just don’t like your uterus

When I started writing this blog I had no idea the blog’s name — mourning dove motherhood–would take on so many varied meanings. I originally named the blog in honor of all the mourning doves that visited me shortly after my mom died.   I had no idea that I’d go on to grieve more motherhood related losses, namely the loss of a pregnancy, and now the infertility too. (Jeesh maybe I should have picked a different blog name!)

To quote my doctor:

“The patient presents with the following problems. Period. New paragraph. One period. Advanced maternal age period. Two period. Reduced egg supply period. Three period. Wilson’s Disease recessive carrier period.”

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(doctor from “Baby Mama” movie and whom I picture every time I see the fertility specialist.)

Why thank you, infertility doctor awkwardly dictating your case notes while we are still sitting in the room. I’m glad to have a recap. And that does pretty much recap the situation. Hmm but does it? 

Actually, I think I maybe I should dictate this. . .

“The patient presents as a woman emerging from a difficult and transform-ative five year period that took a toll on her body period Patient experienced significant loss comma which combined with the stress of young motherhood comma left her feeling tapped out and dried up period. Patient believes her body is physically manifesting this inner state period. Patient would love to tell the fertility doctor that she believes her yin has been significantly reduced comma resulting in infertility comma and consequently her recovery requires nurturing and cultivating her yin forward slash feminine energy and bringing balance to her doshas opening parenthesis especially because her vata was incredibly aggravated which can lead to infertility closing parenthesis period. Patient would also like to describe the current look on the fertility doctor’s face as quote boggled comma confused comma horrified comma and unable to compute with clinician’s brain end quote period. LOL period.”

Just to be clear, my version was not uttered aloud because I’m pretty sure his brain would have exploded all over his desk and it would have made quite a mess on his 27″ monitor that he treasures for showing patients charts, statistical analyses and the occasional (and accidental) view of his Facebook feed.

I suppose both dictations represent the two polarized views of my situation. The very, very left brain masculine energy (which we all have) analyzing with logic and data, juxtaposed with the highly intuitive and creative right brain feminine energy (which we also all have–with the exception of this doctor. Just kidding. He has it in him somewhere I’m sure). Both are true and both are not the entire truth. The truth is both. Deep man.

(Maybe it is time to change my blog name and thereby my future. How about “Forty-Year-Old’s Return To Vitality and Health and AMAZING Advanced Maternal Age Pregnancy and Birth blog!” Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it does it. Might need to work on that. Any suggestions?)

Vitality is Your Birthright

I was going to write about the wasteland, but first I need to tell you about vitality and joy. That they are your birthright. You were born to be a wellspring of creation as part of nature, not separate. You were born to bear fruit and yes, also turn fallow when the seasons turn. But all part of a rhythm and cycle of life. Not distorted or shuttered, not churning out products like a machine or lying withered–no, simply part ongoing cycle of birth, death, regeneration and rest.

Yes, vitality is your birthright. Let that sink in. It took me until my fortieth orbit around the sun to re-remember this truth.

To accept vitality as your birthright means to accept that these states of being matter in the first place. That joy matters. That how you are is as important as what you do.

Like most people I didn’t arrive to these lessons through sitting in the light. No, I was awoken by despair. By the creeping realization that my infertility was a symptom of a larger imbalance, including decades of small choices that placed priorities of doing over being. Choices that sucked away my vitality and juiciness, for lack of a better word. Painful lessons that being tapped out, dried up and exhausted wasn’t a state of being I had to simply grin and bear.

I no longer accept that my reality has to include certain compromises. It took sitting in a chair with a crappy ovulation report (“you have low fertility for someone your age – who let’s be honest, tends to have low fertility to begin with!” (I paraphrase)) to finally accept something I knew deep down, which was of course my body was sucked dry. Of course I could not longer dictate my body perform magic (creating a human for crying out loud!) with a snap of fingers. The well had run dry and the pied piper was coming to collect its dues. This wasn’t personal. It simply was what happens when nature is in imbalance. Too many years of drought? Well, you won’t see a good crop for some time. My body was no different.

And what of our great mother earth? As I frittered away in my own world, despairing about the state of my body, my family fled our home because of mother nature’s massive hurricane, category five, whose eye touched kissed the ground near our home, causing “once every-two-hundred-years” flooding. Mother nature is out of balance too. Too much has been demanded of her for too long.

Where does this leave me? Demanding vitality as my own birthright–and mother earth’s, too. 

I’ve resisted writing about this because of an inner critic that tells me the story is cliche, predictable and trite. (Which basically means there’s a part of me that still believes it is all of those things.) But forget that. Too many women have been too silent for too long and that’s what got us into this mess. I write to silence my own inner critic but also to show my daughter how to cherish her vitality and joy. To fight for it tooth and nail the moment she sees it slipping away or being stolen from her in the name of progress.

How about them (meditation) apples!

According to my meditation app, in 2017 I meditated an average of 16 minutes a day with a total of 37 hours of meditation! That doesn’t include my walking meditations, which I try to take every day.

2017 was the first year where meditation became a habit. I noticed if I didn’t meditate. (Or to put it another way, my family usually noticed because when I didn’t I was an irritable cranky-butt.)

I don’t need more convincing on the benefits of meditation, but if I did, this story might seal the deal. A few weeks ago I saw our family doctor for a well check and I had my my blood pressure/pulse taken. My blood pressure was really good but that didn’t surprise me because I’ve shed some weight.. What I was not expecting was my resting pulse to be so low. My entire life I’ve had a fast pulse. Weight loss and exercise never really impacted it much–even at my lowest weight and highest amount of exercise, my heart rate stayed stubbornly high.

This new rate was by far the lowest it had ever been. In fact, it was so good that I had a hunch it might be getting close to my husband’s heart rate range. The dude runs three miles a day and has the healthiest heart rate of pretty much anyone I know.

Well, well, well. Guess whose resting heart rate is now LOWER her husband’s? This gal’s. 

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Totally. Amazing.

Have you seen unexpected results from your meditation routine? Feel free to share!


Want to brag about your heart rate too? Share and follow posts on Facebook and Instagram!

 

Holiday self-care: visions versus reality

Me every year before Christmas season:

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This year I’m going to make healthy choices for myself to stay grounded. Like, stick to my calming decaf teas instead of coffee, which my body tells me feels so much better.

 

Me yesterday:

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GIVE ME ALL THE COFFEEEEEES.

Before the holidays:

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I’m going to buy gifts early and ship in plenty of time to reduce stress!

Me this week:

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OH CRAP OH CRAP WHY DON’T I HAVE PRIORITY MAIL BOXES! I’LL TRADE MY FIRSTBORN AND A COFFEE FOR ONE RIGHT NOW!

 

Me before Christmas:

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We will make homemade hand-crafted thoughtful teacher gifts made of love and unicorns

Me two days before the last day of preschool:

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PEACE OUT, MAKING MY THIRD RUN TO THE STORE TO BUY GIFT CARDS!

 

Merry Christmas everyone. May you stay sane amidst the chaos and find time for self-care. (Real self-care. Like, time to breathe deep and tune out the noise. Coffees are optional. Though I am totally drinking one as I type this.)

 

Changing the Script

Nobody is looking at my upper arms. Nobody is tracking their girth or tone.

And yet lately I find myself at times scowling at them, sighing and fretting about the state of my triceps. 

I am typically at peace with my body. I do my best to practice self-love and compassion when it comes to my body image. After my daughter was born, I wasn’t very phased by the extra weight I still carried. I was grateful for the extra fat my body had to fuel nonstop nursing and to help my child gain the weight she needed as a preemie. Then, I lost my mom later that year and I gained more weight, and for the most part I was ok with that too. Oh, Paula Deen grief pies, I loved you so. Worth every calorie.

All this to say that I generally do not fret about weight.  Except right now. 

My recent miscarriage resulted in more weight gain than I would have expected. In retrospect, I began grieving immediately after the baby’s heartbeat stopped, which was nearly two weeks before I found out that I had miscarried. I ate all the chocolate. All the potato chips. Kummerspeck, if you will.

Well, some of the kummerspeck came off quickly, and the rest, well…it is slow-going.

The other day my sister pointed out that I have been talking about this weight A LOT. She is both a great listener and perceptive. My first response was, what on earth are you talking about?! And then I was like, oh wow, she is right, because now that she mentions it, I can see that not only am I talking about it a lot, I am THINKING about it a lot.

Why is my body image on my mind so much?

Because the excess weight reminds me of the loss. Because removing the excess weight will set a reset button, and magically make it OK if I get pregnant again, protect me from loss…Yes, I think that is basically the magical thinking. 

I need to change the script. 305690403_052ff73cfc_o

Last night I did the seven minute workout. I love this thing. Seven minutes! I feel great after I do it. The heart gets pumping fast and I love that I no longer have to nearly lay my entire body on the ground as I attempt to do push-ups.

I had an a-ha moment where I realized that I feel stronger and have better stamina even compared to several weeks ago. I feel GOOD. I have more energy.

I want these to be the things I think about my body. Which got me thinking about what else can be part of this new mental script. Here are a few to start with:

  • working out makes me feel good, and I love feeling strong. My body is capable of powerful things.
  • When I feel triggered by this extra weight, I want my message to myself to be: this weight is a reminder of the life I was able to carry, however briefly, and I am grateful that I could be a mama to this baby who could not join this physical world.
  • This weight might remind me of the sadness too, and that is ok. I mourn the baby who could not come into this world. This weight makes me sad, because instead of joy at being pregnant, it reminds of sorrow for a baby who is no longer with us. 
  • When I see my large thighs and butt, I want to think, wow, my body was prepared to birth a baby, to carry extra fat to feed this baby. This is both beautiful and sad—beautiful because of the amazing things my body is able to do, and sad because my body was not able to do it for this child. 

 

I like this new script. I rings true, and I hope that it helps me to be gentle with myself. To give myself a mental hug when I need it, and to also celebrate my strength.

Have you had a script you had to change after miscarriage? I would love hear what worked for you. Blessings! -Sarah