Book Club: In search of my Zen (mother) nature. Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali

Book Club: In search of my Zen (mother) nature. Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali

I know I am not the only mother who tussles with the notion that she is not as calm as she would like to be. Frustrations arise and sleep is hard to come by. So are a few minutes alone to shower let alone meditate on our mental state. Meditate?! When? When there is laundry to put away or when our children need to be fed or when when when. Meanwhile it feels like the world keeps spinning for everyone else, off they go to the gym or to the shops or for a poo. Lucky.

Envy. Worry. Anger. It’s a yuck feeling to have come over you. And it hurts if you have always felt you are a naturally positive and strong person. Suddenly you feel weak and quite low. A few months ago I bought a book called Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali. I don’t have a lot of time to read it in one sitting but I keep it nearby and when The Child is happy to we dip into it and have a ponder together. I read a little more when TC sleeps.

(by the way I am not sponsored and anyway I bought my copy off Booktopia for the Qantas FF points)

More than anything I am searching for a way to navigate evolving into a Mother whilst still maintaining everything else that I am and can be. At the same time I want to be PRESENT, and here for my child. I discover every night how important it is to be present with my child. We have a more loving, peaceful and happy evening if the day was spent in a calm manner than not. Duh. On days I look at a page or two I seem to be able to maintain a sense of insight over my feelings and practice some semblance of mindfulness.

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Chakra Can! Creating Opportunities to Realign

Chakra Can! Creating Opportunities to Realign

chakras crystals and legs

I felt the surge of jealousy the other day. It’s not a feeling I experience very often anymore but this time, oooooooh, I was so envious. I was jealous of a woman walking down the street hugging a yoga mat because she was off to a yoga class, I’m guessing. I managed to add a “Enjoy!” to the “Ahhhhh so lucky!” but there is no getting away from the fact I was jealous.

I haven’t been to a class since having my baby. I’ve done some home practice and teaching but I haven’t been to a class and felt that sensation of being surrounded with other people breathing, moving, sun saluting, chanting and so on in such a long time. The excitement of clutching your mat and padding over to the studio, flip flops slapping at the ground as you walked. Being tapped on the shoulder to be stronger in a posture. Being adjusted. I miss it a lot. Especially an adjustment. That would be so nice!

I’ve been teaching yoga for a few years but I still love going to class as a student. I think it’s really important.

I’m sure I am not the only parent who has missed something from before life changed for a long time. For the most part, I am fine with keeping up my yoga studies on my own but once in a while I feel off. Full moon, new moon, teething (the baby, not me), mercury retrograde, sleep schedule changes (everyone), jet-lag, any of the above could come into play and suddenly I find myself feeling out of sorts.

I think The Child sensed this because whenever we have been playing with our crystals I keep winding up with them being planted all over me hahaha.

Mama, check yo chakras.

Yoga, Pilates and meditation are what I always rely on to maintain myself and I loved attending a class when I needed an extra boost of encouragement so it’s tricky when I haven’t got the chance to go to a class. Most of the year we live overseas and there isn’t any kind of creche at the gym. Unless the gym has changed, I don’t know, I haven’t seen the inside of that place since having my baby hahaha.

BUT. This week I’m back in Sydney and my mum sweetly said she would take the baby whilst I ducked into class, tomorrow. I am SO EXCITED. And nervous. ???? Hahaha. Does it count as an opportunity I created? Well, I thought so hard about wanting to go experience being in a class that mum heard my brain. She’s a huge mind reader and the creator this time around. But I think the next opportunity will be created by my ASKING FOR HELP.  I know I am not the only parent who has to practice that move more. Not everyone is a mind reader like my mum. We need to speak up!

I hope you give yourself the opportunity to realign when you need to. xx

creating opportunities to realign crystals chakras

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Birthday Weekend 1 – Growing Up, Shopping and Tea

Birthday Weekend 1 – Growing Up, Shopping and Tea

What do you want for your birthday?” B has been asking me this off and on for the last two months. So sweet and I wish I had something great to say other than

Tea and some sleep and someone to please wash my hair for me

And I just want to go to yoga

I used to just order a whole bunch of Asos clothes as my birthday treat. The thought of getting more clothes right now starts off as sounding like a lovely idea but then I balk at the knowledge that I’ll have to put them away in the closet neatly which I still am working on decluttering. Every Christmas we head back to Australia for the holidays and I do a crazy bunch of shopping for things I just can’t get for a reasonable price here in Indonesia. When it comes time to fly I get crazy worried about the excess baggage. After months of trying to declutter my wardrobe this year I decided that is it with the clothes shopping. I’ll only buy one or two really wonderful quality items, sorry, PIECES. More expensive but they will last and not date. I look at photos captioned “wardrobe goals” and think argh, no thank you. I get wardrobe envy at the sight of near empty closets so you get the idea of the turnaround I have had.

Not when it comes to baby clothes though. I may be having less of a turnaround and more of a redirecting haha. B sometimes asks me if I want to donate any of The Child (TC)’s old clothes and I look at him like, “who even are you?” But I tell you, if I could get my hands on some baby Dior I would be tempted to go minimalist too. Oatmeal and spinach stains on Dior though, hmmm, never mind. Also TC goes through two to three outfits every day. Sometimes after dinner we need to do another clothes change because TC decided to just grab dinner by the fistful and most of dinner becomes some sort of accessory all down the front. I’m flattered that my cooking was so enjoyable but I also feel like I could raise a few pigs with the dinner scraps that I am shaking into a pail at the end of every evening.

Incredible how our priorities keep changing as we grow up. I’m still growing up so who knows. Although I have been considering getting a necklace with TC’s name on it. Or a Pilates reformer. Preferably both. So there you go. But in the last few months I have just been prioritising experiences over anything else. In Sydney I was very pedantic about taking TC to the playground and Taronga Zoo etc. I went to the shopping centre but most of my time was spent in the children’s play area. After lunch, of course, and after I had picked up a cup of teh tarik, of course.

If we haven’t spoken about teh tarik before, it means pulled tea. I spent a huge chunk of my childhood growing up in Singapore and we would go for breakfast at these lovely shophouses. You could get all sorts of food such as chicken rice, fishball noodles or you could get kaya toast or roti pratha with some curry sauce. The roti pratha is my dad’s favourite. Anywhere you can find food like that there is a drink stall and you can get pulled tea or a really dark earthy coffee. The tea or coffee is poured back and forth at a great height until it gets really frothy and smooth. The person is practically standing on a ladder doing the pouring. Just before I became pregnant I stopped drinking coffee and now it’s been so long that I love the idea of coffee but my tastebuds have changed. It’s easy to get teh tarik everywhere in Singapore, a little less so here in Indonesia but still possible. Especially if you are determined. I’m extremely determined, driven by mostly that feeling of “I just want SOMETHING for a treat“. Can you still call something you get pretty much every day, sometimes twice a day, a treat?

Whatever.

I love tea and coffee house culture. It’s such a lovely feeling. We woke up extra early this morning (more like TC woke up extra early and decided to haul me out of bed) so I ordered some teh tarik with some roti pratha from a kopitiam my friend took me to. Whilst I waited, my dad was messaging me about ingredients for Chinese porridge and how to make it. We both bought the same rice cooker so he has been messaging me about that quite a bit since I am the only one in the family who reads manuals. (edit: he found his manual so he is reading it as well. We are the only two who read manuals in our family.)

I’m pretty easy going in restaurants but that cup of milky tea was half empty when it came. Soooooo just as well that I ordered two. It was a lovely start to my birthday weekend.

Now I just want some yoga and to wash my greasy hair.

What would you like for your birthday?

kopitiam breakfast 1

Listening to this as I type.

A To Do List for a Nothing is Going to get Done Day – Yoga, Meditation and Stir Fry

A To Do List for a Nothing is Going to get Done Day – Yoga, Meditation and Stir Fry

Here comes a Moon Day.

I love reading what this app tells me I am. Focussed! Alright! Yes! I’m ready! But also practical! I like that. Ambitious. Yes. Yup. I’m with you.

(I love that anyone anywhere in the world would likely read this description and think, yes this is soooooo me.)

Speaking of ambitious, are you a big list writer? I have huge lists of things I want to get done and buy and posts I would like to write. I have an embarrassingly long list of partially done drafts I need want to get through to finally post them. But as can happen wife gets in the way. That’s right, I get in my own way – I’m working on my follow through. One of my biggest stumbling blocks is those darn danging lists! They get longer and longer until I just feel totally overwhelmed. On other days I get in the “that’s it! today is the day I tackle everything I wanted done” mood and tadaaah 9.3/10 times* that is the very same day that nothing goes according to plan. Time to just breathe and go with the flow. Easier said than done when you’ve been looking forward to crossing things off a list.

As if I needed any more lists, I made a new list called My Contingency List. When it turns out nothing is going to plan I pull this out.

My Contingency List

  1. Yoga – any kind, any duration
  2. Meditation – any kind, any duration, with intention to remove obstacles and blocks

That is the list. I can add anything else to it but the only things I MUST MUST MUSTTTTTTT do is these two. Once I do the first two items I find I’m not so attached to anything else I previously thought had to be done. Life feels a whole lot easier and happier after that.

yoga reading

Even just thinking about a yoga posture can have a calming effect.

Something interesting often happens too – what I thought was stopping me from getting to whatever else I wanted to do suddenly dissolves. I end up getting more things done. For example, The Child (TC) usually has a nap around midday and I think of that time as my run around in a frenzy trying to tidy things away, shower, shave my legs, prepare lunch, prep dinner, read, relax and a million other things to be squeezed in if possible. All this requires the nap be LONGISH. But on a day like today I was out running errands and the nap was 30 minutes. Our window of time had closed for the day. Not the end of the world, I can do some things just not all the things and not to the extent I would if I were on my own. I think a lot of mums understand.

I was talking to my mum about this whole trying to let go of expectations business and THE LIST. What am I even doing? Living in the shadow of these things I need to get done or else I can’t be happy?! Again I totally think a lot of mums and just everyone in general understands this idea.

Out came the contingency list. I did some yoga for spine health with TC doing downward facing dogs that turned into roly-polys (I know, WHAT A SHOWOFF). I like this yoga set because I can do it seated haha. How quickly I go from a productive mood to lazy mood! If you have never done this set of exercises be warned, you can get a little sore afterwards!

After that I did a short meditation to clear subconscious blocks. To do this, I pick a happy song, set my intention to clear any obstacles and infuse everything with positivity, and then I sit, smiling and clapping my hands to the song. The hand clapping is partly to keep TC engaged but also it feels hard not to be cheerful when you are clapping away. I also played this track I really like for humming Om to.

sound bath meridian heart healing

After this I just felt really good about going where the day took me.

The day took me on  a walk to brunch.

And later it turned out TC wanted an afternoon nap so I even got to chop loads of veggies to stir fry when TC woke up. We make our dinner together as part of our evening routine. It is just as well because one evening I was so flat out trying to do everything that after washing the rice I was about to walk off without pushing the lever to start the rice cooker. If TC hadn’t been gesturing at the rice cooker we would have been riceless. Riceless! *shudder*

I tried out my Joseph Joseph noodle maker thingy again and again it was a just the most disappointing thing ever. Totally does not work for me. It’s just a really expensive container now.

I’ve been really into eating as many colour vegetables as possible. I keep calling my veggie stir fries “chakra stir fries”. Technically they are.

I’m pretty happy with how the day turned out.

* Not a real statistic but golly it feels that way

** Also: I did not get paid for my opinion on the Full Moon App or Joseph Joseph. I bought that noodle maker thingy with my own money and I downloaded the free version of the Full Moon App for my own use.

The Universe has a funny way of working for you: Story of my (mom) life and a sort of Gratitude Practice

The Universe has a funny way of working for you: Story of my (mom) life and a sort of Gratitude Practice

I had been trying to pack for our annual trip back to Sydney for Christmas for the past three days. Every single day came with its own obstacle course of reasons why I could not get everything done. Our flight was at 7 o’clock in the evening and as at noon I had:

sweated through one set of clothes;

got a sink full of things to wash up;

one toddler alternating between chasing me around the apartment and wrapping themself around my neck/leg;

suitcases open with the contents flung far and wide (thanks for the assistance UNPACKING, o child of mine).

My heart was pounding with adrenaline or angst. If you would only nap, I kept muttering to myself as I grimly dragged myself around the apartment trying to replace items back in the suitcase, child firmly wrapped around my left calf like a barnacle. IF ONLY.

Another hour went by and finally, finally, naptime. I retreated to the bedroom to lie down and regroup as well. I felt like I had ALREADY been on a redeye flight with a baby. Still needed to make lunch because feeding children is what we do. WOOSA.

In the back of my mind a soundtrack kept playing on a loop, “How the heck is this going to happen?”

I shook my head and thought well let’s just do our best and if anything gets let behind, as long as it’s not the baby that’s fine. As I walked to the kitchen to start making lunch, B said to me, “Hey, your flight has been delayed. By 3 hours.”

THANK YOU UNIVERSE. I bet no one ever appreciates a flight delay but this time I really needed it.

The child slept terribly on the flight as in not at all but was very happy just shimmying around our seats so it all came together.

Our jetlag lasted a week. But I’m still going to call it a win and I am GRATEFUL.

Thriving on Peace: The Yoga of Pregnancy. Beginnings

Thriving on Peace: The Yoga of Pregnancy. Beginnings

feet

A little chat about the mysterious inkling, hints and symptoms of pregnancy and some of my experiences in the very beginning.

“Did you know right away?”

No, I didn’t even know left away.

A lot of women I speak to say that they just knew when they were pregnant. Some dreamt of their baby within a day of conceiving. Others felt a twinge.

I just knew, you know?

No, I don’t know. I had no idea. Not a single clue. Ok, maybe there were clues, I just didn’t know them for clues.

If you have seen my Instagram posts you would perhaps come across one where I mentioned having been out of action because of this brilliant bout of flu I had been having.

View this post on Instagram

[Bedhead] Even though I'm still incredibly worn out and can't stay up for longer than a few hours at a stretch, I feel, weirdly, FANTASTIC. B touches my forehead with his hand and it's turning into a joke between us. "How do you feel?" "To be perfectly frank, I feel so tired but also AMAZING." I croak as he ices his hand. "Well you look amazing." "Don't I just?" I've always thought of myself as a positive person but at the moment I'm experiencing some really great vibes. No, it's not the fever talking! I think it's the 40 day practice. (Details are linked in my profile) I'm still managing to do it everyday and combined with a lot of rest, and plenty of water, my symptoms haven't bothered me emotionally as much as they would in other circumstances. To those of you who have joined in already, welcome! Keep going, I think it will be totally worth it. 🔮✨💠🌿 #yoga#yogalove#tribe#sadhana#takerest#morninglight#loveandlight#magicalyou#selflove#viberesponsibly#uplift#inspiredliving#liveinthelight#myyogalife#goddessvibes#manifest#health#choosewellness#joyfulliving#spirit#peace#meditation#lifestyleblogger#consciousliving#mindfulness#practicewithme#justwokeup#bedhead

A post shared by Dominique🍃🐚🌊🌙☀️✨🌺🌴 (@yoganymph) on

Most of June and a lot of July had been spent attempting to sleep my way out of the thing. Shortly after I had recovered, it was time to bundle up for a flight back home for a few weeks.

Some women have wonderfully regular cycles, mine is sort of “flexible”. Travel is one of those activities which impacts on my cycle so it didn’t seem strange that there was a delay. I was a little softer around my edges which also seemed normal, being a combination of having not been very active lately due to the flu, just getting off a long flight and also because of the particular point in my cycle I thought I was at. As my cycle length stretched onwards towards infinity, a girlfriend urged me to test.
But I was starting to cramp, so I decided to leave it.

A week of cramping went by.

And that’s when I started to suspect something was going ON.

SLOW ON THE UPTAKE, right?

For those who don’t already know, a lot of the symptoms of pregnancy resemble the symptoms women experience prior to menstruation.  But CRAMPING, seriously?! Why on earth would I have cramps and think, “Yup, I’m definitely pregnant.

Of course I’m going to go pick up some tampons.

So symptoms are not always that helpful unless you own a “I just know” radar. Myself, I “just know” when women around me are pregnant, but apparently my radar only works on other networks not on my own. I remember being a little girl and walking towards my piano teacher one afternoon. As I walked towards her, I said to my mother, “She’s pregnant.“She totally was. The words just fell right out of my mouth. And then I proceeded to tell her it was a boy. It totally was a boy. Kids, huh.

Cut to me now.

You’re pregnant.

Huh?

I worried that this meant I wasn’t CONNECTING to my baby. Where was my awareness? Were we not bonding? After trying to take care of myself so that I would be as healthy for birthing a baby as possible, here I was, fluey and clueless. I remember hearing that from the moment a person has a child, they worry about that child until.. forever. My worrying had started from conception. Actually no, it started as soon as I peed on a stick.

And then I shook myself mentally. I realised I was completely missing the point! Here we were so so so lucky to find ourselves in this happy position, waiting on a baby. Was this how I wanted to spend my pregnancy?! I had always wanted a calm pregnancy and now it seemed that was exactly what I had on my hands. A calm and easy pregnancy.

Pregnancy is so synonymous with morning sickness. People constantly asked me, “Any nausea?

Nope.

A host of websites informed me that nausea was positively correlated with a healthy pregnancy. Crap! Where was my nausea?! I had aversions to a few things but when it came to nausea I had about two weeks of morning sickness, at most. And all in the afternoon and evening time. And it mostly felt like indigestion.

People with good intentions trying or genuinely interested in my pregnancy continued to ask me about morning sickness, not realising it would remind me that I didn’t have any of this thing that was associated with a strong pregnancy. I thought calm thoughts as best as I could and reassured myself that I was LUCKY. Much later, I was informed that in all likelihood, I wasn’t experiencing much nausea because of the type of food choices I made and because I was drinking so much water.

Other than that, I felt kind of ordinary although very sleepy.

VERY sleepy. I was constantly tired in the first few months. I’d wake up super early (to pee) and then I’d go back to bed, toss for a while, feeling RAVENOUS, and finally haul myself out in search of food. After that, I’d manage to stay up for a few hours before I took a really long nap (anywhere between one hour to five hours). I’d gone from being someone who struggled to nap to a total Nap Queen. I started thinking I might just sleep through the pregnancy.

Someone wake me up when my water breaks.” I’d say.

bump

I’d wake up and manage one or two conversations before I’d yawn. Oh, eight o’clock! Time to pee and get into bed.

Going to bed was a major operation. Before getting into bed I would go pee, so that I wouldn’t need to get back up again. I’d settle down in my nest of pillows and close my eyes with a happy sigh once I found the perfect position. A few seconds later I’d realise I needed to go pee again. FINE. So off I went. And then I would come back, have my sip of water, lie back down. Hmm. Was that it though? Better go back. FINE. Etc.

I probably walked a kilometre each night going between my bed and my bathroom all those times.

B was very kind and offered to get me anything I craved no matter what time.

Just wake me up honey if you get hungry and you want something.” His friends had warned him their wives wanted KFC and nutella pancakes at all hours of the night.

I’ll get back to you.” The thought of chicken made me feel green but I decided to keep the food delivery option open.

I never ended up using that wild card. Around three in the morning, B would wake up to a crunching sound. Turning on the light on his side he’d realise it was me and not some giant crunching on bones in his dreams.

Are you… eating?!

I’m just crushing apples with my jaws to make cider. Nothing to see here, go back to sleep.

A lot of women suggested keeping a box of crackers beside the bed. I disliked the idea of crumbs flying everywhere so I would chop up two apples and keep them in the fridge. When it was that time of the morning I’d go get them and munch happily away. After two or three pieces, I’d rinse my teeth and roll over for another snooze until it was time to pee again.

It’s the first time where I’ve truly felt hunger pains. Not pangs but true pain. It physically HURTS not to eat when I feel hungry. Just like it physically HURTS LIKE MAD if I don’t pee when I need to.

My body changed shape quite quickly in my eyes. I looked like I’d had breast implants and they entered the room a full half hour before the rest of me followed. Every top was a cleavage loving top. My rib cage became wider very early on and my belly which was usually a little firmer became rounded so I couldn’t zip up a certain dress that highlighted my waist. The first week I realised I was pregnant, I had two pimples on my face where I never got pimples and a small patch of dry skin on my face, eczema-ish in appearance. I have never had eczema. They all cleared after a week and I peered at my reflection wondering if I was glowing. Looked pretty ordinary to me. Aside from the cleavage. I mean, whoa. Welcome, sisters.

Oh, let’s see, what else?

Cravings! I had just two cravings. One was fresh orange juice WITH THE PULP. The pulp was very important.And the other was chilled watermelon. To be perfectly honest these are things I like to eat even pre-pregnancy but for various reasons I don’t usually indulge in them very often. I figured compared to all the other people with cravings for clay or tacos or fried chicken that at least I would get some nutritional value. Later I discovered that I may as well cut out the middle man and just eat oranges fresh. Worked just as well! As a bonus, when I went through my two minutes of nausea I discovered that the chilled watermelon really helped. You might like to try that and let me know if it helped!

Exercise wise I was too tired most days. I took a break from my regular yoga routine which a lot of senior yoga teachers suggest practitioners do in the first trimester. Just the thought of being up and MOVING for 45 – 90 minutes made me want to lie down. Instead, I did small 10 – 15 minute intervals of very gentle yoga and Pilates exercises to keep my body feeling mobile and my core strong so that I wouldn’t get too much back pain. That seems to have paid off so far. When I had the energy and the weather permitted I would go down to the pool for a short swim. A little walking. A lot of meditation.

Processed with Rookie Cam

I think meditation has been one of the best tools I’ve had for adjusting to pregnancy and hopefully towards parenthood.

Due to some combination of meditation, yoga, a user-friendly batch of pregnancy hormones and loads of naps, I haven’t had any mood swings. I remember one day I was really tired. B had snored ALL NIGHT and I couldn’t sleep through the noise. By the afternoon I was so exhausted I felt really grumpy and I told B how I was feeling really short tempered due to my frustration. We got through the day without anyone getting hurt hahaha. Slept like a baby that night and we went back to being happy pregnant people. Aside from that day, my mood has been really stable. Phew! Friends would meet up with us and later message B to say,

Gosh, she seems really happy.

Towards the end of my first trimester my energy levels improved and I went back to practising slightly more active yoga. Initially I sought the guidance of my first yoga teacher who guided me with making adjustments and modifications. She is an Iyengar teacher and Iyengar Yoga felt like the best way for me to return to a safe and supportive practice. With the information I learned from her and a few other senior teachers,  I returned to my regular home practice. I’m almost in my third trimester now and have been doing this modified version of my regular practice for a few weeks now. It feels so good to be back to it!

back-to-yoga

By the second trimester the nocturnal toilet visits reduced, thank goodness, and my cravings which had gradually reduced over time went away. I’m still pretty interested in orange juice but it’s not a big deal if I don’t get any for days or weeks at a stretch. Also I stopped waking up at all hours of the morning needing food so the apple chopping operation has ceased. Now I just find that when I wake up in the morning, I want to have something for breakfast before I can meditate.

Pregnancy has turned me into a breakfast person!

perks-of-pregnancy

I’m now at the stage where I can balance my plate (albeit a smallish one) on my belly. Brilliant! Goodbye tables, I have my own built in, hehe.

That’s all I can think of to say for now about the first trimester. Hopefully that helps! If there’s anything else you wanted to know, just ask and I’ll share what I’ve experienced!

xx