Thursday, 27 January 2011

Mrs. Fix-it

I like to fix things. No wait - I LOVE to fix things. I am addicted to improvement. I find it ultimately satisfying to see something that isn't working well, and to find a solution for it to work better. This is great when running a business; it creates breakthrough moments in which the clouds part and everything fits, and then onward ho to the next stage.
So um, this fixing obsession I have is not the greatest approach with a baby, or on myself. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been experiencing insomnia (for three months now!) and have been trying just about everything to fix it (except the exercise regularly component. Ugh. So tired). Baby has also been waking every 1.5-2hrs each night. Needless to say - no one is getting much sleep around these parts. Can I just say, to all you people who are thinking of having kids in the near future - SLEEP NOW. Sleep for the sleepless!
As I lie awake in bed, I think about these problems, and how to fix them. Fixing is an action that requires doing. Ah, how I love to do. But when it comes to the self, and definitely when it comes to another human being - it's not the best approach. Fixing can be scientific, and methodical, and human nature is not that. Maybe my body needs to experience insomnia right now in order to get my hormones leveled out. Maybe baby is waking every hour because he likes to party all night long. I really don't know. But I do know that I am making myself crazy in trying to FIX.
Outside of just wanting to get some sleep (naturally!), the impetus behind my fixing is to get a grasp of how life is going to work with a baby in tow. How will I go back to work? How will I get my needs met? How will Cedar get his needs met in the midst of all of it? I wish I could draw up a blueprint and follow a plan and know that everything will be smooth and perfect. But it's not so simple. Life is not smooth and perfect. I do know that everything will work out, one way or another - just not by means of planning and fixing and pushing. When I imagine the logistics of it all, I feel completely overwhelmed and hopeless. Here I am trying to plan out something I have never done before - something that revolves around the most precious thing in my world: Cedar.
Someone once told me that the heart - its feelings, workings, openings, and breakings - are like the eating of a pomegranate. It is messy. Let it be messy. Resign yourself to the juice on your chin. How many of us don't eat pomegranates because they just seem like too much work?
Life is a messy, juicy mystery these days. Almost heartbreakingly so. It doesn't need to be fixed - it just needs to be opened up into its many little seeds and lived - even if it's uncomfortable and messy.
There seems to be only one way to go these days: stop trying. Just stop. Dare I say trust? Have faith? Put intention into the sunshine of the spring and all the new little buds that are lying dormant right now. Nature doesn't worry, or plan, or fix. Nature just keeps on keeping on. Sleepless or not.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Hitting The Wall

This morning I went to yoga. It feels like a feat to get out of bed these days, let alone go to a yoga class. However, I also know that the two hours a week I go to a class by myself are really, really good for me. As I was on my mat today, I encountered a part of myself that I'm not incredibly fond of, but who usually wins in most situations. Let's call it laziness, procrastination, reluctance - all wrapped up in a tricky little bundle who is incredibly convincing in her plight to keep things easy and safe. Do you have a tricky little bundle in your self-repertoire as well?
I always admire people who go further, who push themselves not out of masochism but the true desire for excellence. I also recognize where I can be very hard on myself, and also where I don't push myself at all. Sometimes it's hard to know what to do - go easy, or push?
I was doing my practice, but then pulled the teacher over to ask him for a stretch to help my incredibly tense shoulders. Next thing I knew there were two chairs lined up against the wall, and me in a crazy shoulder-type stand, with all the blood rushing to my head, afraid to fall. But you know what? It felt really good to be upside down this morning. It felt good to look at the floor from that angle and to leave my comfort zone.
As I was leaving (and about to pick up my coffee - yummm) I thought to myself that my biggest wall is that one - succumbing to the procrastinator who likes to stay safe. I run into her so often, and she seems to usually win.
I often think that in order to stretch my edge I have to sell my business, my house, and pack up the fam and move to the tropics or something. But isn't that just another way of being tricky? Can't excellence be found in every moment (or at least a lot of them) if I just try to do things differently or reach for my personal best?
That's a lot of words just to really be saying this: sometimes you have to be uncomfortable in order to grow or change.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Good Grief

I don't know how many times I'd heard people say, "once you have kids, your life changes forever." That seems obvious, but one never knows until they go through it just what that may feel like. In my recent posts, I've definitely alluded to a bit of discomfort and shell-shock with new parenthood. I really wanted to be ga-ga-goo-goo all the time, but I'm not so sure that's actually my style...
Two days ago, I was driving up Roncesvalles and happened to see the New Moon van out on delivery. I started to cry. And last week I was looking for something in my closet and found a box of clothes I haven't touched since having Cedar. That made me cry too. These things hint towards something a very dear friend/mentor/wise woman said to me, "you have to acknowledge that you are grieving the loss of your old self."
Ah yes. The maiden. The busy, working-all-the-time gal. The consummate seeker. The go-anywhere, travel all-the-time entrepreneur. The maiden. Who felt incredibly free all the time.
I don't use the word "free" loosely - because we are going to look at that now. What exactly is freedom? I believe it might just be a state of mind.
I find it easy to list off the things I "can't" do anymore - like take off to Mexico by myself and drink watermelon juice on the beach. But I did that already (okay, it's awesome, and I'll do it again when I'm 50).
So here we are - no longer the maiden. No longer the flying-by-seat-of-pants girl. It's time for a new definitition of freedom. Here's one I just found: the power to determine action without restraint.
I don't want to fall into the thought trap of "I can't do anything now that I have a kid" but rather, "life has revolved 180 degrees, how can I align with the movement?"
If I try to go back and do things the way I used to, I'll only feel burnt out and disappointed. And the old things don't feed me anymore. This is a huge list of things: the way I approached my work, the way I ran my business, the things I did for fun, the socializing I did. I miss the old self, but I think the new self will be pretty amazing too. I just don't think she's quite here yet.
The new self needs some ti
me to form, time to hibernate, time to ga-ga-goo-goo all over my house. And then - watch out. Me and Cedar are taking the world by storm.
In the meantime, this is the good grief. Painful, yes. But necessary. Death gives life. Always has.

The photo at the top is me as the maiden. In San Diego. I don't really know how to surf, and in fact - that was my first time trying (and I dislocated my shoulder), but I think I look really cool in the photo. The photo below is the most recent shot of me and the Ceed, taken by fellow Mama and burgeoning photographer, Sara Marlowe.

Mamas can surf too. Probably better. One doesn't push out a ten-pound baby and not find a new will for the edge :)

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Is This All There Is?!

A couple of months before my dad passed away, I remember him calling me one morning to share one of his grand revelations. "So I was just sitting here," he said, "thinking about life...and well - is this all there is?"
"What do you mean, Dad?"
"Like, is this all there is?" He started to chuckle. And I chuckled too. It was a bit of a relief to hear those words from a man who definitely lived a full and interesting life.
Maybe it's getting older, maybe it's having a baby, maybe it's reaching this certain point in life - but I too am wondering about the "this" of life.
There's something about the stillness and innocence of a new life (and sitting for many hours in my living room) that really has me wondering what it's all about, and of course, the busyholic in me is scratching at the walls looking for things to do to occupy my brain to make me feel like I am DOING something. But here's what I think might be the raw truth of life (wow, I sure am getting wise): life is actually quite simple. There's joy, pain, indifference, wonderment, love, loss, grief, happiness - many states of being to run around with. But underneath those states, life is simply life, and it keeps on going no matter how we feel about it.
I find this a bit of a bummer, to be honest. That probably doesn't sound very Zen of me, but I never said I was good with humility. Why a bummer? Because I've always banked on life being a wild rollercoaster FULL of busyness. But I'll tell you something - and this is a confession - underneath all the busyness is a wildly racing mind that seems to be pretty uncomfortable with just being. I am taming a beast over here...
Why am I thinking so much about all this? Because something in me doesn't want to be okay with just biding time anymore, or getting incredibly busy, or worrying about everything, or being complacent about life. My little boy seems to be bringing this out in me; the desire to live life more fully, and to dive into the moment.
So over here in my 12-step program to living life more fully I can tell you that the very first step is to be with yourself. Just be still, doing nothing, for even ten or fifteen minutes, or many hours in a day. See who is there.
I am hoping step 2 is something really good, like - go for a massage. Or better yet - discover what your true dream is.

More ramblings from a cabin-feverish Baker Babe

Sunday, 2 January 2011

The Birthing Continues

I remember one fine summer morning, sitting outside at a local coffee shop, and being interviewed. I was about 8 months pregnant, and was asked how I felt about becoming a mom and also balancing work. I said something along the lines of, "I believe that a baby can make your life bigger, not smaller." Essentially, what I meant was that life expands and you meet it - head-on.
I had some pretty lofty ideas about how I would balance baby and work. I said to myself, "no big deal - you take the baby to work." But then see - I had never had a baby before...
So I took Cedar to work a few times and found myself scrambling to complete some bookkeeping while rocking his carseat so he wouldn't wake up from his nap. It was a bit of a challenge.
I decided to take a bit more time off.

It's been a stressful thing so far - this wondering of HOW I will balance everything. I miss the bakery, I miss working, but am also just getting into the swing of relaxing at home with my little guy (watching movies, going for walks, changing diapers - it's not so bad).
For a few weeks there it seemed impossible in my mind; I worried that the bakery would really suffer. Then I remembered something: many, many people have had babies. Many, many women go back to work. Many women do incredible things with their babies in tow. So if I'm going to expand, shouldn't it be towards the direction of dreaming and doing incredible things that encompass both being a businesswoman and a mama?
Here is the ultimate, true test of myself as an entrepreneur: I can make this anything I want it to be. I steer this ship. This is my dream - what wild and wonderful things can I do that Cedar will also love?
The challenge I face right now is in my own peanut brain. Either I stress - or I expand. Either I tense and worry - or I breathe. Either I envision small grey dreams or big, boisterous, bright ones. Do you dare me?

And now, I sleep...
p.s. that's Cedar in his carseat as I try to balance the books.