Friday, April 30, 2010

My Birthy Week

About two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a Dancing for Birth Teacher Certification™ workshop and some of the Midwifery Today Conference. What an amazing week that was for me, to be in the presence of all that wonderful female and birth energy was energizing and very inspiring.

First of all, the Dancing for Birth™ Workshop is such a dream come true for me! I was completely unaware that such a program existed and to have a merging of two of my passions, dance and birth, into one program seemed too good to be true! When I received the newsletter from a local retreat house that they hosting a workshop the following week I was amazed! Now mind you, it wasn't that I was naive to the benefits of dance, particularly belly dance for the prenatal and laboring mommy. As a matter of fact, just the weekend prior I had taught a workshop on this topic called, "Dancing Your Way Into Motherhood." I had a very simple workshop focusing mostly on dance moves that would be helpful during labor. What was super awesome about this workshop was that Stephanie Larson combine childbirth education and dance into an amazing workshop! She was also reviewed doula tips so I felt like it was this wonderful dance and doula workshop rolled up into one! Furthermore she had the ability to put into much better words the benefits of dance during labor. Asymmetry of the hips and providing OFP (optimal fetal positioning) were some of the things quite honestly, I did not address. She opened up my vocabulary in such a powerful way that now I feel better able to share the knowledge I have on both subjects. She also presented a lovely class format that provides a safe and intimate setting for mothers and mothers to be. Oh, and another really fun aspect to the workshop was we learned other birth pertinent dances that were Latin, from Africa and even a pinch of Reggae. I have taught my first demo class and have sent my certification pack in so I will soon be offering Dancing for Birth™ Classes in my area. I will let you know when are where so you can come join me!

That week also happen to coincide with the Midwifery Today conference which I had signed up for back in January.That was such an act of faith on my part because the Midwifery Today conference has been in Philly several times in the past and I had all kinds of excuses as to why I could not go. (lack of money, no time etc.) But this year was different, this year I decided not to put aside my dreams for excuses. How happy I am to tell you I so do not regret this decision! Wednesday was a pre-conference Herbal workshop with Janice Marsh-Prelesnik. What a wonderful knowledgeable and fun woman she is! We learned about different herbs that were specific to pregnacy, labor and postpartum. We received a very useful and informative meteria medica of herbs with pictures to help us identify them. We tasted every one of the herbs we talked about, made infusions and a tincture to take home. It was great to be with ladies who loved plants and birth as much as I do, if not even more.

It was just such a special place to be having the opportunity to make connections with other doulas and childbirth professionals. Being able to sit in round table discussions with such special folks and experts like Naoli Vinacer, Ina May Gaskin, Debra Pascali-Bono, Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos, Michel Odent, and Marsden Wagner(who if you did not already know went into retirement). But by far the highlight of my time was meeting and being blessed by dear Sister Morningstar, the author of the Power of Women ! She was an amazingly tiny, holy, fireball of a lady. I enjoyed her thoroughly and it was a joy to be in her presence. Her gift of storytelling is so empowering and is something I would aspire to.

So what is the end result of this birthy week? Well, I signed up for Childbirth Educator courses through Birth Arts International. I also signed up for more doula training, can't get enough of that, and I am still moving ahead with my Herbalist Courses. I am still doing a lot of learning, but after all that is what Wise Woman do.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Y'know what? I LIKE Earth Day!

You know, I really don't care how Earth day started and why. Just like I don't care that Mother's day and Valentine's day are Hallmarks tricks to guilt you into buying lots of presents and acknowledging the one you love. Y'know why I don't care? Because if it gets some folks to OPEN their eyes and take a moment to become AWARE then I am all for it. If a person never calls their mother or visits her except on mother's day, well shame on them, but at least there is that one moment in time that they have. If you never say I love you except on February 14, well you're a fool, but at least your sweetheart has that moment in time. If you already do what is right, forget Hallmark and continue on, for you are blessed!

That is why I am benevolent about Earth Day. For sure it is our duty to take care of our planet. I give thanks for the beautiful planet I live on! I bless her by caring for her. I try not to make excess waste and live consciously. But there are many, many who do not, and truth is I could do more. So if a day has been marked to wake you and me up again so we can reevaluate what we are doing then it is a good thing.

See, as a Jewess, I am supposed to find the spark, the holiness in everything. It's there you know, you simply have to look and then elevate it. And so, I see the holiness in Earth Day. I see the good in folks saying, 'Hey, maybe I should be more diligent in recycling. Maybe I could take my own bags to the grocery store. Maybe I should not through this plastic bottle on my street.' See, every little bit helps, and if it even only happens today, well then this too is good.

Regardless of your faith or lack of one, it is our duty to care for the Earth. Search your own scriptures folks it's right there in black and white. Otherwise, search your common sense. You can't have a home if you destroy it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Why I like Morning Pages

I have been slowly reading and working my way through The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. Although I have not followed through on everything she suggests the one thing I have taken on and fully embrace are the morning pages. According to Ms. Cameron, morning pages are simply three longhand handwritten notebook pages of whatever comes spilling out of your brain. She encourages you to write them every day even if you have nothing to write. In that case, she suggests you simply write, "I have nothing to write", just be sure to fill three pages of it.

When I embarked on this journey of morning pages, I wasn't sure what the result would be, but I figured it couldn't hurt. I began doing them quite purposefully and ritualistically. I lit a stick of incense, creating a sacred space in time. I got my coffee, creating a wide awake human being and sat myself down in my spot at the dining room table and began to write. My notebook is a nicely weighted spiral bound one where the covers can completely flip themselves around so as not to feel cumbersome. This is very important because if you are anything like me, the journal has to "FEEL" good, otherwise you won't write in it. After all, you are dumping your thoughts, feelings and emotions in this thing, developing a relationship with it. You have to feel good about it.

I began writing whatever was rolling about in my brain, whether it was the 'I-don't- know-what-to-write' phrase or the previous night's dream. Then I suddenly realized I began to write about my dreams, meaning aspirations. I began to write them out as if they were an actual plan and an actual goal. As I kept writing them, I began to notice things began to happen. My dreams began to manifest themselves in my reality! Slowly they are coming true and I have the plans to see them through.

This week now, I see myself beginning to write affirmations for myself. As I am writing out my dreams and desires I am realizing they can be turned into affirmations, mantras even. Here is an example of one from today that I will share with you:

I am true to myself and I walk fearlessly on the path I am called.

There is more to it, but I think I will share them with you in future writings.
It is very exciting to see how these simple morning pages have evolved and helped me. After a little over a month of doing them, I find that they are an important and very meditative part of my day. I still have my ritual, my cuppa still necessary, but not so much with the incense which feels so heavy these bright spring days.