New project…

In less than a month we are embarking upon a crazy adventure, moving countries, looking for new jobs, etc. Major life change. There’s lots to do and organize!

So, guess what I’ve done? Started a new fun blog project. Yes, I am a procrastinator, and this is the sort of thing I do.

Anyway, basically it’s all about sharing the sorts of amazing things I come across that really change my perspective on things, make me think in new ways, add a new dimension to things I already know a little about. I love feeling like my brain is growing! It’s a way to focus on the wonderful and amazing things in the world and share those things, because it’s fun and I get quite a buzz out of that sort of thing. Anyway, if you’re bored and want to see what I’ve got so far, here’s the link:

I Wonder While I Wander

It’s a work in progress, so keep that in mind. Any feedback is welcome! Now I should do something responsible, like get some sleep so I can function tomorrow and do proper grown up things!

New mantra…

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Maybe because it’s spring, I’ve been having some nature cravings lately. There are lovely green leaves everywhere now, and blossoms, and swallows zipping about in the morning and evening, and that freshness in the air… there is nature in the city to be sure, but getting a taste of it in an urban setting seems to make me greedy for more! I want fields and forests and fresh streams or sea, wild spaces where you can’t here any traffic or construction sounds. I want some wilderness!

However, since I can’t get that right now, I’ve been re-reading the poetry of one of my favourite poets, Mary Oliver. I just love the nature imagery that her poems evoke. They bring up all kinds of associations for me, of a particularly American sort of wild landscape, open spaces, a sense of freedom, freshness, exhilaration, all that good and inspirational stuff. For any of you nature lovers out there, I recommend getting your hands on some of her poems!

The other day I was reading ‘The Summer Day’ and I absolutely love it and the sort of ‘life questions’ of the poem, so I thought I’d share the second half of it. Actually, I think I could do with writing the last line of this poem down and posting it all over the flat, because I think it’s the sort of question I’d like to ask myself every day for the rest of forever! I’m going to make it my mantra! Anyway, here it is…

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

                                                 – from The Summer Day

                                                by Mary Oliver

 

Just beautiful!….

Ages ago a friend of mine introduced me to RADIOLAB, a cool radio show/podcast, which, lucky for me, is available free online! Today I listened to a particularly amazing podcast and I just thought I’d share it. I had it on this morning in the sitting room, and it’s fun to be able to listen to something interesting while Liam toddles around the flat and I play with him or whatnot. Today, listening to this one, I just thought it was so beautifully told I could have cried! It painted such a stunning picture in my mind, it was brilliant, breathtaking… I could go on! Just one of those moments when you feel overwhelmed by the sheer awesomeness of the universe! I wish I could listen to it again for the first time!

Anyway, I just love these podcasts in general because they always involve such fascinating stories and people, I absolutely ALWAYS learn something, and they are incredibly thought-provoking and entertaining. I love the way they stretch and open my mind to think about new topics and see the world in new ways.

So, if you’ve got a free twenty minutes, check this out.

Hm, I keep trying to embed this thing, but can’t seem to get it to work, so I’ll just add the link below. Liam is currently attacking me and pinching my belly, so that really isn’t helping my troubleshooting abilities. Anyway, enjoy!!!

RADIOLAB- Dark Side of the Earth

I’m so happy I have cool friends!…

Well, I just want to share the amazing blog my best friend Jen is writing about her experiences in Kenya! She’s just starting a four-month long (at least!) trip there doing some really inspiring work. I asked her to explain exactly what she’s doing, so I’m just going to post her own description of the work because who better to explain it all than the woman herself! Here’s what she has to say about the projects:

What I’m doing here is working for two non-profits in the US: Creative Women of the World, and St Joseph United Methodist Church. Creative Women of the World is trying to establish a business relationship with some women here in Kenya. The goal is to buy/sell/market their products to a greater market, so they can eventually sustain themselves with the business they’ve created for themselves… so we’re not giving them charity, we’re teaching them how to empower themselves.

St Joseph UMC has a scholarship program called Kenya Simba Scholars, which is a program dedicated to gathering scholarships for needy children here in Kenya who can’t afford to go to school. We’re meeting with all the kids who are currently a part of the program, getting their stories, taking photos/videos… and taking those back to the US in hopes of using that testimony to grow the program from 100 students to 1000 students over the next 10 years.

Jen is one of those people who has inspired me to do amazing things and go on great adventures ever since our first conversation many years ago before we became college roommates! I’m so excited about what she’s doing now and so happy for her to have this opportunity! If you’re interested in following along as she shares her journey, as I will be, here’s the link:

Adventures of an International Advocate

Daily ramblings and trying to trust in my own wisdom…

Maybe it’s because I’ve been through a year of major life change (i.e. new baby, taking on new life roles, etc.) or because the end of my 20s is rapidly approaching, or just because it’s a new season and a time for new thinking… who knows, but I’ve been having one of my big life/mind/spirit reconfiguration moments, yet again.

I’ve been feeling an underlying sense of tension, stress and dissatisfaction lurking in the corners of myself and sometimes seemingly taking over my brain! The reason this has been particularly annoying or troublesome is the fact that so many things in my life are absolutely amazing, so it’s frustrating to have part of your mind getting in the way of all the good stuff. So, very slowly and painstakingly, I’ve been trying to understand what’s going on with me and work through it. Basically, I want my life back and want to fully live in all the amazing stuff that’s going on around me, so that means doing the necessary work of getting to the bottom of all these swirling, chattering, rambling thoughts and difficult emotions!

One thing I realized today while having my nice refreshing shower (it’s one of the few places where I have peace and quiet for a few minutes! Haha!), was that I have built up a strong habit of constantly comparing my life and myself to others and that basically, I need to wake up and start listening to the wisdom of my own life and experience, so to speak.

I wrote in a previous post about my frustration with politics and specifically the way that people are engaging in politics in the US at the moment, and that frustration is what has sparked my current inquiry into things. I find I get so passionate or angry or almost personally hurt by some people or some groups’ beliefs or ideas or actions in relation to all this. With some of my pet issues, I just get so infuriated and sad about what I perceive as other people’s hurtful or selfish or close-minded beliefs and I want things to change, right now! I have a vision of what I imagine my country or the world, etc. to be like and sometimes I find it rather crushing to find that so many people want something so different. Of course, I don’t have all the answers to all life’s problems and issues, and I know people have reasons for whatever they believe, but anyway, that’s the sort of response I’ve had to it all, for right or wrong.

I think I’ve developed a habit of being very critical over the years. Critical thinking isn’t a bad thing in and of itself obviously, and it’s the way we figure out the world, piece things together and decide what it is we believe or reject, and so I think it all began in this more positive way of making sense of the world. However, I think over time my ideas have become somewhat stagnant, I’ve gotten into a mental rut, I am more critical than I am creative, and I think it’s become a bit of a problem for me.

So, I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching, and I’ve been thinking and reflecting on way more things than I have time to write about here, but I guess today’s realization is in response to all that criticising I’ve become stuck in. I’m so often either picking apart the ideas of others, and thinking about how much I disagree with this or that concept or belief, and seeing the flaws in everyone else’s interpretation of things. It’s a destructive process of seeing the negative in so many things and people, to the exclusion of positives that might co-exist there as well. And of course, it seems the main thing that when we’re thinking about how wrong other people are, that is always in contrast to how very RIGHT we are. It’s a way of validating my own thoughts and making myself feel more knowledgeable, compassionate, worldy-wise, etc.

On the flip side of all this criticising is the search for positive role models to imitate or learn from. Again, reading about things or people that inspire you is obviously not a bad thing in itself, but sometimes I get too caught up in trying to find validation or identity in other people’s lives, thoughts, beliefs, etc. I think after all these years of knowing that it doesn’t work like that, I’m still secretly looking for the meaning to life and a perfect formula for living in a book, obviously a book I haven’t read yet! If I just keep searching, maybe I’ll find it yet! (Actually, I know I never will!) Anyway, all this is just another way to compare myself to others, and it means I’m not just living my own life!

So, there you go. None of this is a new or revolutionary discovery. Basically, the answers to how I should live my life and who I am as a person are only to be found in my own life and experience! It’s time to stop all the comparing and judging, and trust in the wisdom of my own life to give me a sense of meaning and grounded-ness. I don’t have all the answers in life, but I know enough to know how to live well, and I need to just chill out and trust in that.

Now all that thinking has made me really hungry, so I’m off to the kitchen, which may actually be the real place to find life’s answers! I’ll let you know if I find out anything good!

 

The experiment begins!…

So, I first heard about elimination communication (EC) from a friend’s mom who was visiting Istanbul earlier this year. She’s a home-birth midwife and this was something she mentioned. I remember thinking the idea of little babies being ‘potty trained’ and pooping and peeing in little containers sounded a bit mad, and that was that. However, later, while looking into cloth diapering and related things, I came across the idea of EC (or natural infant hygiene or whatever else you might call it) again, and became rather intrigued. I obviously liked the idea of having fewer diapers to change, and then on the environmental side of things, fewer diapers used means fewer diapers to wash, less detergent and cleaner, etc., so it’s more environmentally friendly. And also, it’s about learning to communicate better with your baby, reading his signals for when he needs to go to the bathroom and helping him to stay aware of his body functions rather than getting him used to pooping and peeing on himself and then trying to retrain him when he’s a toddler. So, I ordered this book and decided I wanted to give it a try.

The Diaper-Free Baby: The Natural Toilet Training Alternative

Well, I started out pretty much right away with cueing Liam when I knew he was pooping or peeing, which is the first step, but when he was so small, I felt too awkward holding him over something to go to the bathroom in. He just felt to floppy and fragile, so I didn’t really go beyond that. I tried having diaper-free time with him on a water-proof mat on the floor, but wasn’t really getting any clear signals about when he needed to go. I felt a bit intimidated by the whole thing and also just a bit afraid that if I tried it he’d just make a bit mess everywhere. So, I just stuck with a bit of cueing, and left it at that.

Then a couple of days ago, I was looking at the book again and talking to Richie about us giving EC a proper go. Over the past couple of weeks Liam has become so much easier to handle, not such a fragile little newborn, and he’s also a bit more communicative. Also, last week there were a number of occasions where, when I changed his diaper and let him air out a bit on the changing table before putting a new nappy on, it’ would be obvious he needed to pee again, so I was just sort of waiting for him to do it, and sometimes trying to cover him with the old diaper to avoid wetting and having to change another brand new one. A good few times, as soon as I’d get the clean one on, he’d pee, so I figured, I can tell when he needs to go in these situations, so rather than waiting for him to go in a diaper I might as well hold him over something and see what happens.

So, on Monday, after talking about it, suddenly I just switched gears and gave it a shot. On the first day, I caught 3 pees. Then the next morning, after his first feeding, I caught a pee and a big poop. Richie came over to help me with the logistics of clean-up while I was holding Liam, and little Liam just gave a big smile which was great! Yesterday we caught a good few pees and poops, especially right after he fed or during changing time before putting on a clean diaper. Again, last night and this morning, we’ve caught a few and Liam actually seems to like it. Sometimes he fusses and gets really fidgety during feeding, and a couple of times I’ve tried taking off his diaper and holding him over his little potty-basin, and he calms down right away. Then after a minute or so, he’s gone to the toilet and seemed happy as can be.

I’ve been quite excited about how things have gone so far and it’s kind of addictive! Catching a few makes me want to catch more! And we’ve already avoided quite a few messy diaper changes and that’s also fewer diapers to wash, so I’m happy about that! Anyway, we’ll see how things go and try to do a bit each day. It sounds like the key to the whole thing is to not take things too seriously or expect too much. So, I’ll just enjoy helping Liam when I can and make it a positive and pleasant experience for all of us.