Monday, September 30, 2013

Laundry Meditations

Tiny laundry
As I prepared the speech in my head, I simultaneously began to deconstruct why I felt it was imperative that Travis adopt the same speedy approach to laundry that I follow.

When my darling mama stayed with us for the first 12 days of Cassidy's life, her speed and expertise with laundry was one of my biggest stress relievers. She would inquire about it, do it, return it, and unload it within a few hours. I am such a slug with laundry, it can take me days to do one load! Just getting from the washer to the dryer can be impossible sometimes. But now I am a mama! I have many tiny little things that quickly become soaked in spit up and other fluids.
Baby Laundry
The adorable pink basket for her little laundries fills up daily, and since we are using cloth diapers, we tend to have leaks, and go through every. single. swaddle. daily.

So, I reflected on how I feel when I look at a pile of fresh laundry...
and although everything is so cute and fluffy, all I can see is the "to do"-ness of it, and imagine how the next time I am at the changing table, and need a burp cloth or a swaddle or a diaper cover, I'll have to run into the next room where we fold laundry on the bed. Which means picking up Miss Cassidy and taking her with me, which might result in an extra pee fountain, or spit up or crying bout!

Now, look at this picture.

Ahhh, a peaceful, orderly vision. Soothes my OCD-loving heart. 

I know its a little thing now, but I have nightmares of piles of laundry taking over my house. I babysat in high school and college, I know how this family thing happens. One day its the laundry, the next day its piles of art projects and animal crackers, and you can't even find the sofa underneath the pile.

One of the best tidbits of advice I received in my breastfeeding workshop, was our instructor's response when a fellow momma mentioned that she was told to "let it all go" in the first few weeks, and just DO NOT CLEAN, just REST and SLEEP. But our instructor had a different perspective. She said that most of us have a "trigger" cleaning spot, that just HAS to be clean. For some it's the floor... for others, the kitchen counter. Or maybe it's the bathroom. So acknowledge what you need to be clean to feel sane, and then let everything else go. When people ask what they can do to help. Tell them. One thing. Then relax. For me it's the kitchen counters. I love to deep clean behind the toaster, under the microwave, in the cracks of the stovetop, sweeping up all the crumbs, then vinegar/EO spray all over the place... then I can breathe. 

So, back to the laundry. It has become a type of meditation for me. In the early weeks when my body was too achy to even sit on my meditation pillow (the midwives even told me, do not sit cross legged!) I didn't have access to my usual mental space practice. Fortunately breast-feeding is a magical meditative experience of breath and gazing at pure beauty.

So, in conclusion (finally! what a captivating topic...) I think laundry will be my mama "thing". You know me, I can't let my space devolve into a junk pile, I am too acutely attuned to the energetics of a space, and the need for cleanliness and clarity. 

A Portland local healer, Tami Kent wrote about this in her book, Mothering from Your Center. ( A title I feel I will reference often here) Her writing explains and validates something that I have always innately felt to be true, that a mother cultivates and maintains the energetic space for her family. I can't wait to write more about this topic.

I like to imagine that perhaps I spent a past life as a lady's maid, living in one of those grand Downton Abbey estates with great and grand personages... Of course I also probably was a fancy lady in one lifetime, lazy and spoiled because I feel that way often enough as well... But, as we weave our karmic lifetimes, and dance from one polarity to another, I feel most drawn to the calling to the art of keeping house. Of clearing space. In fact, I spied a job posting at Breitenbush Hot Springs for a Clearing Arts position. Essentially housekeeping, but I loved the title. It so succinctly described how much I love cleaning my house, and transforming chaos into order. It also supports the mother in me that likes to create loving space for others.

Now, with a small pile of tiny laundry, I can spend under five minutes to transform a pile of mess into a sorted, well-aligned pile of order. Breathing and smiling.

And all is right with the world.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

You Are My I Love You

It's been almost a year since I wrote here. I could blame the wedding...

And I could blame my job... last fall I was hired to serve as the Executive Director at Street Yoga, the lovely non-profit where I found meaning, opportunity and best friends for the past 3 years. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to maintain healthy levels of work/life balance... and experienced a massive burnout.

Fortunately the nature of a yoga service organization draws to itself a circle of self-aware yogis, and the Board of Directors were able to help me admit I was in a dark place. We mapped a plan to hire my replacement, then gradually ease me out of the position. I still volunteer with graphic design projects, and plan to teach yoga to kids again, but recently my attention has been elsewhere:

Cassidy Susan Puckett joined our family September 2, 2013. Yup, on Labor Day. She popped out bright eyed and alert, so strong and ready for life! We were blessed to labor at Alma Midwifery, a community is so amazingly full of support, resources, and experience. During my 16 hour labor I was fed tiny watermelon chunks, smoothies, and coconut water as I moved around the birthing suite (as Travis put it, more like a luxury B&B) and afterwards, my midwives delivered takeout from a local Thai restaurant, making Tom Kha, coconut chicken soup my first postpartum meal. Plus a salad roll.

Our first night as a family was so peaceful. The doulas checked on us every four hours, taking mine and Cassidy's vitals. Everything went so smoothly. The fact that neither my nor Cassidy's vitals were ever less than perfect during labor was the best part. I never had to worry about her, I knew she was working hard, right along with me, trying to enter this world in the best way possible.

Now, my life feels... so different. Intense, dreamy, quiet, challenging. Peaceful and chaotic all at once. We chant Sanksrit mantras to sleep, and just today read a sweet book, You Are My I Love You.

Over the past few weeks, my motivation has driven me to resume this blog, and write to my dear baby. She is certainly the epitome of Funstuff & Pretty Things.

So if you are still following along, the content here will still be 100% my life, but it feel like a brand new life to me! I can't wait to write to my daughter about her development, her rhythms, our memories, and most of all how much I love her.