For our God is a consuming fire.

-Hebrews 12:29

Sunday, December 12, 2010

2010 Reflections; Part 1

I have a very valid excuse for not posting for so long: I gave birth to an amazing daughter. For purposes of this blog, I'm going to call her the Geeb. Ozzie and Harriet had the Beav; we have the Geeb. May she be equally as family friendly, yet nowhere near as unidimensional.

Perhaps my first blog posting post-facto should be about her? Well, this is and this isn't. It's my first soiree back into writing in months, and I'm hoping to reflect on this past year. To do so, I'm following this website's prompts for pontification. I'm sure her presence will be apparent throughout, thus juicing two veggies with one blender (or other nonviolent take on a cliched idiom).

December 1 – One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you? (Author: Gwen Bell)

In late 2009, I wrote that the upcoming new year would be "Zen in 2010". In a way, I did achieve Zen, but it was not as I expected. My pregnancy brought a new level of awareness and appreciation for what my body is capable of, and an understanding that sometimes, there are things I just can't do. New physical limitations caused me to accept more with less, and ironically those limiting factors culminated in a magnificent display of physicality when Geeb was born. "Acceptance" was my Zen. And it shall be my One Word as well. Within that acceptance is also immense GRATITUDE for my blessings; however, I feel "acceptance" more accurately describes the totality of the year.

For 2011 - I'd like my word to be "Awareness". Be Here Now. Mindful. Conscious. Fully Present. These notions seem deceptively simple, yet I've a long way to go to attain. Daily actions with awareness = adventure where you least expect it. I'm ready to experience the now with gusto, and the Geeb helps me to do this each day.

I downloaded a small chime program on my laptop that randomly emits a gong during the day. It's purpose? To bring me back to the moment. When I hear the chime, I stop and consider where I am right then. Geeb also emits a loud lovely 'chiming' tone of her own randomly throughout day, and I am forced to consider where we both are at that moment, what her needs could be and how I can best address them. She's got a built-in awareness program! She's a five week old GENIUS!

December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)

Great googley moogley. Much of what I do doesn't contribute to it, but I can't eliminate much at this point. I'm glad to get in a shower and brush my teeth (and all this time I thought new parents were exaggerating! My sincere apologies to you all). But I can scribble down ideas as I have them and refer back once Geeb is in daycare and I'm back to work. In honesty, going back to work will actually open up pockets of free time I don't currently have: the commute, waiting for clients to arrive at appointments. I carry my journal with me and plan to take advantage of these brilliant moments of freetime to scribble freely.

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

Holding my daughter for the first time. I won't be overtly vivid here, but I will offer up a series of adjectives: overwhelming, slippery, joyous, purple, loud, open, monumentous, united, thankful, infinite, purposeful, grounding...

I'll also add a non-Geeb moment: teaching my first yoga class. A personal triumph!

December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis)

Attempting child birth naturally. This cultiavate an immediate sense of wonder at how anyone could actually do this! I spent the last two years immersing myself in a very au natural community and thought that perhaps I would be able to push (pun intended) my way through this process without the aid of drugs. Perhaps a more complete birth story is forthcoming for this blog, but let's suffice to say that I was and am confident that my decision to have an epidural after several hours on a pitocin drip was a wise one indeed.

It did generate an entirely new amazement and sense of wonder at those awesome women who forge ahead without the aid of chemistry. To quote myself on this topic, I share a homework assignment from my prenatal yoga certification with Janice Clarfield. We were asked to write one take-away we'd received from the classes. Here's my submission. I love that the theme of awareness is present!

"As a first time mom-to-be, this course has enlightened me as to: questions to ask my midwife, considerations for my own yoga practice and assurance in trusting my own Instincts. Most profound thus far though, is the notion that there need be no guilt in the decisions we make about our birth choices. It is our responsibility to act mindfully; with awareness. But if I or any woman choices a certain path for my birth plan, there need be no judgment.

I’ve been so concerned that if I decide in the heat of labor to get an epidural, that I will somehow be offering my child a “lesser than” entry into this world, that I will be a “lesser than” mom for not being able to withstand the pain on my own. I feel much more equipped with tools to bear the pain and face the fear now. And I am thrilled to take the notion of a GUILT FREE BIRTH EXPERIENCE as my own and to share this with other pregnant women. Guilt is a heavy burden to bear, and not in line with producing optimum conditions. I’m sure the baby feels it. I need not own any guilt for proceeding with a birth plan as best I can; nor should anyone else!"

Amen, sister. Preach it! I hope that I am able to share this with the Geeb. Guilt free experiences made possible from thought-out, aware-filled choices. She came into this world through a series of them, so we're off to a good start.