Monthly Archives: October 2009

A Lesson in Compassion

About a month ago, my boyfriend and I decided to foster a dog. In September she was 8 months old, had a badly broken leg (hit by a car) and was scheduled to be put down at the shelter. I saw an email with her name and photo, freaked out and worked with a rescue group. They pulled her out of the shelter and got funding for her surgery. We were the foster parents…and then…we were in puppyland.

The first day she went into heat. Awesome. I came home from lunch on the first day and there was poop and blood smeared on the bathroom floor (cause she stepped in it). Looked like a frickin’ crime scene. There were wood pieces and a hole chewed in the baseboard of the bathroom door so she could get out. She leapt over a baby gate on three legs (with a cone on her head). She shredded her doggie bed from inside her crate (the bed was on top of the crate). She chewed a hole in a METAL crate (wires pokin’ out all over the place). She pulled off her muzzle and then tore it apart. And she cried at night. All night.

There was one point when I told my boyfriend, “I don’t even want to go home. She is a total disaster and I don’t want to deal. I don’t want her and we can’t keep her.” My boyfriend (kapha) said, “Well, we won’t keep her, but just think of all the things she’s been through. She’s in pain, scared, and doesn’t know any better.” Eeoooooh…good point.

At only 8 months old she survived getting hit by a car, had a broken leg for at least 3 weeks, escaped euthanasia by 2 days, and went through major leg surgery. Not only that, she was in pain, on meds, in heat for the first time in her life, and had my crabby dog constantly barking at her. Poor thing!!

After I thought about what SHE went through, I was ashamed of myself for my severe lack of compassion. Yes it was a disruption and yes parts were gross, but we took this dog in to help her. And HOW could I have forgotten that? And how could I think such mean things because this was a little life. THIS was LIFE! More important than my yoga practice in the morning, my journal writing, or even my blog, THIS was life! And I was choosing to not only ignore it, but I actually wanted it to go away. I immediately felt my insides get softer. And suddenly I was the one with my tail between my legs.

I followed my heart when I saw her photo, so why was my heart SO quick to shut down when things got difficult? It’s something to think about. Do you tend towards compassion or judgment? My hope is that we start to see beyond the outsides of someone’s situation – we don’t know what they’ve been through. Let’s peek into someone else’s world before we judge or grow impatient. Maybe they are doing the best they can. Maybe they could do better with our help!

The funny thing is, as soon as I found my compassion and surrendered, things turned around. A month later, she is close to perfect now…and we’ve decided to keep her :) Compassion is better than judgment. Love is better than contempt. Let’s work on it. If I can, YOU can!

Bit of Wisdom {18}

Stressing the Strings

First! Stress is the number one killer. Did you know that?

Second! I love my violin. LOVE it (first and second don’t relate yet, but gimme a second). But when I play I tend to clench EVerything. My jaw, my shoulders, my wrist, my fingers, my hand – everything is usually tense- and really hurts! Sometimes I cramp up and have to stop.

Then my violin teacher said something brilliant. She said, “You only need to press down on the string so far for it to make a noise. If you press harder than that, it’s just wasted energy.” *GASP!* She was so right. Here I was thinking about pressing down so hard and for what? I would sound the same if I released a little bit and I would be able to play longer AND pain free.

Now. What if we took this principal into account in our own lives? What if, instead of taking on more, skipping lunch to do more work, pressing on when we’re tired, and striving to keep up with jones’, if we just surrendered a bit? I was saying to someone at work yesterday that I always give 110%. And then I thought, “Like, why? 100% is as high as you can go anyway.” What if I only functioned at 100%? The numbers say that I am still at an A+, but the impact that it would have on my stress levels, time gained for MYSELF and my life, would be huge. That’s 10% more for me!

I’m not saying go out there and be a bunch of slackers, but check your life. Is there something that you put gobs of energy into that is neither not serving you or, more importantly, requires a lot less gobs? Is there anything that you make more difficult or stressful than it has to be? Do you create extra “work” for yourself? And, are you giving energy away?

Think about that.

<I wait>

Did you come up with some things? Solutions could be making dinner more simple so you can eat earlier and have more relaxation in the evening. Or maybe you get in a 30 minute work out instead of 45 minutes. Maybe don’t fold your underwear into perfect squares. Color coded.

You get my drift. Let go a little. Surrender a little. You will be able to accomplish ALL the great things you want to and maybe more, because you will be at ease. Things will flow and energy will be preserved for your mental and physical health. It will take time, but try to work on it. I just played my violin and I have a big string dent in my finger. I will keep practicing, trying not to stress the string or myself ;)

Breastfeeding Tips

Hey! I just added a new category called, “Questions!” It’s important because these come from YOU, my bloomin readers. I get them from time to time (would love more if you got ’em!) and sometimes they are nice to post.

I got a question today from a very lovely gal reading “from her perch in Nebraska.” How sweet is that – does your heart melt or what? Mine did. Anywho! She asked if I had any tips for breastfeeding mothers (her baby is 3 months) And I do! Below is what I wrote back to her. If you have further questions, I’m happy to answer the best I can.

MonicaB says:
As far as Ayurveda is concerned, the “sweet” taste will be important for you. Because “sweet” is the only taste newborns have :) The “sweet” taste doesn’t necessarily mean sugary foods which is why I put that in quotes. Rather, they are grounding, building foods which are very important to create foundation and structure (a new baby needs that for growth). Examples of easy-to-digest sweet foods are mostly carbs, like: white rice (brown can be hard to digest), sweet potatoes/yams, pasta, breads, nuts, milk, ghee, brown sugar, sweet fruits and juices, ripe bananas (non ripe are astringent and not a good choice for you now), mangoes, grapes, figs, and dates (dates are GREAT for you). Cooked veggies are also great. I would say for now stay away from salads, pizza, red sauces, peppers, yogurt, and fermented foods. Your job is to build the baby’s little body through whole, nourishing, fresh foods. The sweet taste will go easy on yours and baby’s digestive system and I think you will feel very satisfied and nourished.

One spice that is great for breast milk is fennel. Do you like fennel? You can take 3 cups of boiling water, add the seeds (crushed a little) and boil for 5 minutes. Strain and drink the tea during the day. Fennel is great for quality and quantity of breast milk while helping reduce both mommy and baby’s gassy tummies. It’s an excellent digestive aid and can also help with colic and relieve pain for teething babies! And if you ever have cramps, gas or bloating, chewing up a small amount of fennel seeds after meals (or as needed) will take care of the problem.

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