Nontoxinista

Bad Moms Club

By March 21, 2017 Uncategorized
bad moms

It all started with my first big parenting fail.  When Cecilia was about three months old I was ready to throw in the towel with breastfeeding.  I was an utter failure.  She was still struggling to latch.  My supply was low.  Pumping sucks balls… Actually it sucks tits, but you know what I mean.  Ha!  And obviously anytime I’d find a minute to strap myself up to that Godforsaken machine, that would be the minute Ceci decided to start wailing.

Fuck that shit.

Am I right?  I mean, I tried.  I really tried.  The stress of it all was entirely too much.  So I gave up… But first I had to figure out what formula would be the best option for her.  I ‘Dr. Googled’ the shit out of baby formula.  Apparently, they all suck.  And if you formula feed, you’re a terrible mother.  Join the club.  Bad moms.  Right?… If trying my fucking best isn’t good enough to be a ‘good’ mom, than I’d rather be bad.  Who’s with me?

mom

The thing is, that time period sent me down the Internet rabbit hole.  Shit’s dark down there.  All of a sudden I’m reading about GMOs, pesticides, fluoride, arsenic, and a plethora of other things that are definitely going to kill us all.  Face palm.  I literally went from Big Macs and fountain soda to sprouted grains and kombucha.  What the crap?!  Fountain soda tastes so good.  I really miss it.

For a time, actually a few years, I tried like hell to be the ‘best’ possible mom.  I gardened, soaked, dehydrated, preserved, and cooked food from scratch.  And I hated every second of it.  I loathed it.  Why?  Because it was too fucking hard.  That’s why!  I washed everything with vinegar, or essential oils, or castile soap. I had air purifiers in every room.  I had a water filter so strong you could drink the water you shit in.  I mean, I literally researched everything.  And as it turns out, everything is going to kill us.  We are totally screwed.  Big sigh.  Finally a time came when I just threw my hands up in the air and said, “Fuck it.”

FTS

One can only do so much before they start losing their mind.  The more I knew, the less empowered I felt.  Ya know?  I mean, how the hell can anyone keep up?  Unless you’re lucky enough to have more money than God, like Tom Brady and Gisele, it’s entirely impossible to do everything you should to keep your family safe and healthy.  Right?  So I’ve decided to stop worrying and just do my best.  Here’s why…

Worrying about a problem is usually worse than the actual problem.  Sitting around obsessively concerning myself with the pesticides in my coffee is probably killing me faster than the actual coffee.  Right?  Besides, I literally run on Dunkins.  I’m pretty sure they put crack in their coffee, so we all get addicted and have to come back for more.  Just kidding.  It’s totally the sugar.  That shit is so bad.  But so good.  I literally can’t go a day without Dunks.  It’s a serious problem.

me

For real though… Here’s my point.  Each of us are walking our own path, viewing life from our own perspective.  We are all doing our damn best.  Shit’s hard!  I got to a point where I had so much knowledge, but felt like there was nothing I could do with any of it.  It was entirely too much for me to handle.  It made me feel like a total failure.  They say, “When you know better, you do better.”  But what if you know better, but you can’t do better?  Then what?  That’s where I found myself.

I’d tell myself I was a terrible mom because I couldn’t feed them well enough.  Or afford a nontoxic mattress.  Or get a whole house reverse osmosis water filter. (Yup, that’s a real thing.)  Or buy only organic food.  Or do household upgrades the eco-friendly way.  I mean, I could go on forever about all the things I failed to be able to do for my family.  It left me feeling pretty terrible about myself.

Slowly I have released those feelings of guilt, and have accepted myself where I am.  I still hold all the information inside of me to be true, but I don’t let it make me feel fear.  And because I don’t fear the information, I can do my best, and leave the rest.  I wish I could make my family eat like a caveman.  I really do!  But I can’t, so I’m not going to worry about it.  If you happen to be a crunchy mommy that has actually pulled this off, please know I totally envy you.  This post isn’t about bashing crunchy mommies.  I want to be you.  But not at the cost of my happiness.  I love myself way too much to let information destroy my sanity.  And you should love yourself enough to accept where you’re at too.

Eminem- The Monster

No, I ain’t much of a poet but I know somebody once told me
To seize the moment and don’t squander it
‘Cause you never know when it all could be over tomorrow
So I keep conjuring, sometimes I wonder where these thoughts spawn from
(Yeah, ponder it, do you want this?
No wonder you losing your mind, the way it wanders)
Yo-lo-lo-lo-yee-whoo
I think you’ve been wandering off down yonder
And stumbled onto Jeff VanVonderen
‘Cause I need an interventionist
To intervene between me and this monster
And save me from myself and all this conflict
‘Cause the very thing that I love is killing me and I can’t conquer it
My OCD is conking me in the head
Keep knocking, nobody’s home, I’m sleepwalking
I’m just relaying what the voice in my head’s saying
Don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just friends with the

I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed
Get along with the voices inside of my head
You’re trying to save me, stop holding your breath
And you think I’m crazy, yeah, you think I’m crazy

Well, that’s nothing
Well, that’s nothing

 

~Namaste~

Becky

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Who Says You’re Not Perfect?

By March 20, 2017 Uncategorized
childrens-yoga

I wish there was a way to verbally express the feeling that came over me as I was teaching my older students this week.  Thinking back on that experience, remnants of the emotions still rise up inside me.  I left my class that day feeling so inspired and hopeful for our future.  Our children are so amazing.  So amazing.  I wish it was easier for all of us to see this all the time.  Myself included.

I’m a children’s yoga instructor for kids ranging in age from one to eleven.  I love teaching all of these ages, but the seven to eleven year olds are my favorites.  I can really dig in with them.  This week we worked on positive affirmations.  It was an easy lesson for me to come up with, but a surprisingly difficult one for them to complete.

At the beginning of class we always start with a greeting.  On this particular day, I explained to the kids what a positive affirmation is.  I kept it simple, and told them that it is basically a compliment about ourselves.  Then I asked that each of them say hello to the group, tell everyone their name, as well as a positive affirmation.  They really struggled with it.  At first, the kids would say things like, “I like dancing,” or, “I like to swim.”  I had to stop the activity and give some examples of positive affirmations:

I am smart.

I am beautiful.

I am amazing.

I am loved.

One student raised her hand and asked, “But if you say stuff like that about yourself, wouldn’t that be conceited?”  Then another chimed in, “Yeah. That’s snobby.”  There was a sea of nodding heads in agreement.  I felt a little disheartened at their comments.  At such young ages, these kids had already been conditioned to not love themselves.  This realization made me sad.  So I took a few moments to explain to them that loving ourselves, and feeling emotions like pride or confidence, are not conceited or selfish.  I went on to explain that as long as these feelings don’t make them feel as though they somehow make them better than others, that they are good for us.  They seemed to understand what I was saying, so we started over again.  On our second try they did a little better.

“I’m a good dancer.”

“I’m good at swimming.”

And so on….

lion2

Later in the lesson we used shaving cream to demonstrate a metaphor.  I had them empty an entire can of shaving cream onto a table, then challenged them to try figure out a way to get the shaving cream back in the can.  They were adorable as they worked together trying to solve this seemingly impossible problem.  They laughed and encouraged each other, as I played a fun song and danced around the table while they worked.  When the song ended, I asked them to stop and inquired if they thought it was possible to get the shaving cream back in the can.  They all agreed that it was impossible.  They were right.

I explained to the group that they are to imagine that they are the shaving cream can.  Next I told them that the shaving cream is their words and actions…. So what’s the lesson?  They excitedly started shouting out answers:

“You can’t take words back!”

“You should be nice!”

“If you do something mean, you can’t undo it!”

Yes. Yes. YES!  I was so proud of them.  They giggled and jumped up and down as they shouted out their responses.  Then came the fun part… They got to spend some time playing with the shaving cream.  My only instruction was that they should write or draw positive affirmations.  They wrote words like ‘beauty,’ ‘love,’ and ‘happiness,’ and drew hearts, rainbows, smiles, peace signs, and flowers.

shaving cream

In preparation for Savasana, I had the kids take turns practicing mindful breathing using an expandable ball, as I played “Who Says” by Selena Gomez.  They then laid on their backs in Savasana, and I went around to each child and gently rolled a yoga ball over them as they relaxed.  The kids always claim this is their favorite part of class.  Admittedly, it is my favorite part too.  I turn off all the lights, walk around to each of them, and watch as they smile with their eyes closed as I roll the ball over them.  They all stay completely silent and still…  And I get to savor their perfection as I look at each of them.  They are all perfect.  Every single one of them.

We bowed to each other and said, “Namaste,” as we ended our practice that day, then the kids slowly streamed out of the room.  As each walked out, I challenged them to tell me one more positive affirmation in exchange for a sticker.  This last try was inspiring.

I am beautiful.

I am talented.

I am smart.

I am wonderful.

I am amazing.

Amen!  Yes you are!  You all are!  My heart bubbled over with joy.  I literally almost cried.  I realized that day how important it is for us to be telling our children how amazing they are.  They are perfect.  They are amazing.  They are beautiful.  They are miracles.  So tell them.  Everyday.  Tell them!  They desperately need to hear this.  They’ve somehow forgotten how wonderful they are.  We need to remind them.

 

Who Says- Selena Gomez

Who says, who says you’re not perfect?
Who says you’re not worth it?
Who says you’re the only one that’s hurtin’?
Trust me, that’s the price of beauty
Who says you’re not pretty?
Who says you’re not beautiful?
Who says?

 

~Namaste~

Becky

 

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I’m Still Breathing

By March 17, 2017 Uncategorized
chester4

The other day my cousin tagged me in a post on Facebook.  It went as follows:

“I was nominated for The Happy Dog Life Challenge Against Animal Abuse. The challenge is to post a picture of your dog(s) for 5 days to promote awareness. Each day you are supposed to nominate two friends and today I nominate Becky Elizabeth and (the other person’s name).❤️”

I had planned on completing the challenge, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I wanted to approach it differently…

chester2

On January 30, 2011 I was diagnosed with Influenza Type A.  I was incredibly sick and 33 weeks pregnant with my daughter.  After a trip to the ER, I was told to relax, stay hydrated, and wait out the illness.  I followed doctor’s orders and curled up in my bed for a few days, waiting for hell to pass.  Chester, my then one year old rescue pup, stayed by my side as I waited to recover.  But things didn’t get better.  They got worse.  Much worse.

About three days after getting the flu diagnosis I noticed I was having a hard time breathing.  A quick trip to urgent care gave me no answers, and I was told I needed to be patient, and that with time, I would feel better.  Twenty-four hours later I found myself home alone in pre-term labor.  In a panic, I called a friend that worked locally who could drive me to the ER.  Upon arrival to the hospital, I was taken in for an exam, and it was found that I had pneumonia.  The days that followed were the scariest of my life.

You see, I didn’t just have pneumonia.  It was a consolidated pneumonia.  The most dangerous type of pneumonia, and the most difficult to treat.  Essentially, the pneumonia doesn’t just grow on your lungs, but grows into the spores of your lungs, effectively turning the lungs into concrete-like blocks.  Doctors worked tirelessly to try to figure out the right combination of antibiotics to save me and my baby girl, but my condition continued to worsen.

After two days, my amazing nurse came into my room and explained to me that there was nothing more that the doctors could do for me at Newton Wellesley Hospital.  It was being recommended that I be transported to Brigham and Women’s high-risk birthing center to continue treatment, and to insure that if I needed to deliver my daughter early that I would be in the best possible environment.  I agreed to the transfer, and off we went.

My emotions started bubbling up as they rolled me out into the rain on a stretcher and put me in the ambulance.  The EMT got to work, taking my vitals and hooking me up to machines, as my tears started pouring out.  He looked up and noticed I was crying and asked if I was okay.  I looked at him, desperate for a certain answer and asked, “Am I dying?”  He quickly assured me that I was in good hands and that an entire team of doctors were awaiting my arrival at the Brigham and everything would be fine.  I didn’t believe him.  In that moment I knew that it was entirely possible that this was the end of my life.

The days that followed were both terrifying and inspiring.  I was diagnosed with bilateral respiratory failure, and underwent countless types of treatment and medications in search of the answer.  I was seen by more doctors than I could even wrap my mind around.  The white coats, from various areas of expertise, would come walking in all together, examine me, and huddle up, putting the pieces of my puzzle together.  They amazed me.  And they totally figured me out.  It took a few days, a lot of trial and error, and countless tears, but they saved me and Cecilia.  I am forever indebted to them.

After a couple weeks, I was finally released to finish my recovery at home.  I was so happy to be leaving, but also terrified to not be under the watchful eye of nurses and doctors.  I had a long, hard road ahead of me… Harder than I realized.  I couldn’t walk more than a few steps without having to sit on the floor to catch my breath.  A horrendous barking noise would come out of my mouth as I desperately gasped for air, curled on the floor, terrified.  And I was at the point of being uncomfortably pregnant.  For a few days I had the help of my husband and mother, but eventually everyone else’s lives had to go back to “normal,” and I was left home alone to recover on my own.

It seems a strange, drawn out story to tell on a post about my dog, but this period of time was when my rescue pup rescued me.  He stayed steadfast by my side.  He loved me all day, everyday.  If I was curled on the couch watching countless hours of mind numbing daytime television, he was curled up next to me.  If I needed to make myself something to eat, he stood right by my side.  If I needed to ever so slowly make my way up the stairs to the bathroom, he traveled at my pace, beside me all the way.  He was there for me when no one else could be.  He knew I wasn’t well, and he gave me the extra care I needed when I was on my own.  Those were some of the hardest days of my life.  I was sick, sad, and lonely.  I’m not quite sure how I would’ve survived that month without him.

chester

Chester is now seven years old.  We adopted him just a few months prior to when I had pneumonia, when he was just five months old.  Before we brought him home, he spent four months in foster care with a loving family.  We thought based on his online profile and the fact that he was rescued at such a  young age, that he may have managed to survive unscathed, but we were wrong.

When Chester arrived he was terrified of the world.  He wouldn’t eat, drink, bark, or even walk.  He huddled in a corner, his ears pressed back and his eyes bugging out.  Clearly scared that he was in grave danger.  It was so sad.  But after a few months of showing him love, and lots of puppy playdates with well adjusted dogs, Chester started to release his fear of humans.

Now, Chester is an almost normal dog.  He loves his humans.  He loves playing with other dogs.  And he especially loves his sister, Ceci and brother, Ryan.  Even though he can drive me bonkers, he is such a valuable member of our family.  He’s always happy when he greets us at the door, and is such a good boy.  We are so very lucky to have him in our lives.

So, here is what I ask of you… If you have a rescue dog who helped rescue you, please complete the challenge stated at the beginning of this post.  It’s true that dog is man’s best friend.

Sia- Alive

I was born in a thunderstorm
I grew up overnight
I played alone
I played on my own
I survived

I wanted everything I never had
Like the love that comes with light
I wore envy and I hated that
But I survived

I had a one-way ticket to a place where all the demons go
Where the wind don’t change
And nothing in the ground can ever grow
No hope, just lies
And you’re taught to cry into your pillow
But I survived

I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing
I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing
I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive

breathe

~Namaste~

Becky

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But First, Let’s Take a Selfie

By March 14, 2017 Uncategorized
me

The other day, I’m standing in the kitchen, and I glance over and see Cecilia standing in the dining room.  She’s holding one of her spy toys out in front of her, smiling, with her other hand on her hip.  It was one of those mirrors on a stick, so you can see around a corner.  “What are you doing?”  She turns to me, smiles and says, “Mom!  I’m taking a selfie.”  (Duh!) Then she turns back to her spy toy, poses and snaps another pretend picture.  I giggled a little, then went back to what I was doing.  A bit later I asked Ceci if she was ready to head off to the gym.  She turned to me, and no joke, said, “Yeah, but first, let’s take a selfie.”  Naturally, I obliged:

ceci

Since that day, I’ve actually been thinking a lot about that interaction, and selfies in general.  I used to think selfies were bad.  Something only self-absorbed people did.  It’s narcissistic, right?  So I never took any.  If someone else wanted to take one with me in it, fine.  But there was no way I would ever snap a photo of myself, much less post it on social media!  NEVER!  Until recently, that is…

I found The Honest Guys’ meditations on YouTube a couple years back.  They were a saving grace for me when my anxiety was out of control.  One of my favorite videos was their ‘Positive Affirmations’ guided meditation.  It prompted me to tell myself all sorts of nice things about me.  “I am healthy.  I am loved.  I am worthy.  I am beautiful.”  On and on it goes.  Technically, you are supposed to repeat the affirmations out loud.  Usually I do, but sometimes I just say them in my head.  The idea is that, at some point, you’ll actually start to believe them.  I’ve talked before about how unkind we all are to ourselves.  This is one way to help with that.  And you know what?  It works!  I am smart.  I am worthy.  I am loved.  And I AM beautiful.

good hair

That last one was the hardest one for me to actually believe.  But I totally am… And so are YOU.  You’re fucking gorgeous.  OWN IT.

We, and women in particular, are taught that beauty is superficial.  To view your physical beauty as an asset or a gift is somehow wrong.  But it’s not!  We are all beautiful.  Every single one of us.  Thinking your beauty somehow makes you better than someone else…. Well, that would make you an asshole.  Ha!  But feeling beautiful, and not being ashamed of it, is supposed to be the natural state for all humans.  How you look on the outside, or rather how you perceive you look on the outside, is a direct reflection of how you feel on the inside.  Know what I mean?  Let me give an example…

My mom came down for a visit a few weeks back.  I love when she comes to visit!  She helps with the kids, and the dishes, and the laundry.  And she drinks wine with me.  Bonus!  But during this visit she caught me having a terrible moment.  First thing in the morning, after a night of barely any sleep, I rolled out of bed and headed down stairs, Ryan stuck to my hip.  I plunked him on my mom, who was sitting in our TV room, and headed for the bathroom.  So I sit down to pee (haha) and catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, which is directly across from the toilet.  (Talk about terrible design!)  As soon as I see myself, my eyes welled up and I started to cry.  My hair was a fucking disaster.  My skin was pale.  I had dark bags under my eyes.  And my angry eyebrow wrinkle was totally pissed off.  I looked and felt old and ugly.  When I walked out of the bathroom tears were streaming down my face.  My mom asked what was wrong, to which I simply replied, “I look so ugly.”  My mom looked at me and responded, “Oh honey, you don’t look ugly.  You’re tired.  You’re in the hard part.  It will get better.”  Wow, I just started crying as I reflected back on that moment.  It was as if all the weight of all the daily bullshit was square on my shoulders.  Pushing down on me.  And I was wearing it on my face.  I felt so ugly, therefore I also looked ugly… to me anyway.  Some mornings are like that.  This morning was better than that day.  I don’t feel like a super model, but I certainly don’t feel ugly.  I feel like a mom… And a good one, at that.

morning

 

I’ve changed my mind about selfies.  They are photos that people took of themselves, that they like enough to share.  They are reflections of how people feel about themselves on the inside.  Some of my favorite posts are pictures friends took of themselves, as they too are journeying to a place of self love.  I dig it.  And in the end, it doesn’t matter what you think of me, it matters what I think.  And I think I’m the cat’s fucking meow. I’m a 36 year old mother of two young children who don’t fucking sleep, and I still totally got it going on.  Take that!

me2

Now please excuse me while I go shake my ass in my kitchen….

Like the clouds you
Drift me away, far away
And like the sun you
Brighten my day, you brighten my day
I never wanna see you cry, cry, cry
And I never wanna tell a lie, lie, lie
Said I never wanna see you cry, cry, cry
And I never wanna tell a lie, lie, lie

I see you in the club
You gettin’ down good
I wanna get with you, yeah
I see you in the club
You showin’ thugs love
I wanna get with you

You’re so beautiful
So damn beautiful
Said you’re so beautiful
So damn beautiful

~Namaste~

Becky

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Good Vibrations

By March 7, 2017 Uncategorized
energy

Everyone has their demons.  How or if we are able to tame them depends entirely on each person’s individual needs.  In my last post I was completely honest about the inner workings of my mind, and how I was able to address unwanted thoughts.  For me, the solution was Taoist Yoga.  For you, it may be something totally different.  However, I wanted to take some time to explain what actually happens in my classes, and why I think it helped to completely alleviate my anxiety.

yoga

I’d give anything to be a fly on the wall in one of my yoga classes.  Straight up, we must look like a bunch of lunatics.  When you think of yoga, you likely picture sun salutations or some sort of vinyasa flow.  Taoist yoga is totally different.  There’s some of the typical balance and flexibility postures, but what’s different is that we do a lot of vibrational work.  Wiggling, shaking, banging.  It’s weird.  That’s literally the only way to describe it.  You have to be just a little bit ‘off’ to go to this type of class and think coming back is a good idea…  But if you do, in the long run, the work you put in will translate to positive outcomes in your day to day life.

I’m no yoga expert.  I’m not some sort of energy healer.  And I know nothing about sanskrit.  What I know is what I’ve experienced through  my own personal practice.  So, from my understanding, postures used in yoga help to open up meridian pathways…  Think of them as an internal energy freeway.  Most of us have a shitload of traffic on our freeways, and that’s no good.  Old, slow, low vibrational energies get ‘stuck’ in your meridians, thereby leaving you feeling like shit.  Holding onto suppressed emotions, bad karma, and negative experiences lowers your vibration, making more negative experiences likely to occur.  If you understand the law of attraction, this should make perfect sense.  As within, so without.  Right?  Doing yoga is like adding a carpool lane to your internal freeway, so traffic can get moving.  Negative energy can then leave your body and be replaced by high vibrational energy from the Universe.  Get it?  The weirdo banging, wiggling, shaking stuff we do in Taoist yoga gets that low vibrational energy to move into the carpool lane faster.  You just look like a crazy person while you’re doing it.  It’s all good.  Let your crazy out!  There’s something else though… Something that’s proven, for me, to be way more important than the physical practice of yoga.

vibes

My yoga teacher does voodoo magic at the end of each class.  For real!  Or at least that’s what it seems like.  I mean, she’s not really magical… Or no more magical than the rest of us.  Because of course we’re all magical.  We’re literally made of the stuff of stars!  How could we not be magical?  She just has a deeper understanding of this, and helps us use it to our benefit… During savasana, we do a guided visualization.  Each time, we are asked to picture a bright light in the sky, much like the sun.  This light is pure consciousness.  Loving energy from the Universe.  She has us picture this light shining down on us, filling us with love and light.  As we breathe in, we picture the energy coming into our body, washing over us with love.  When I do this, I picture it looking like glitter, making me sparkle on the inside.  The light washes away old, negative emotions and stuck energies.  As we exhale, we visualize the old energy running down our arms and escaping out our fingertips.  This I picture like that black crap that came out of the guy’s mouth in The Green Mile… Except it shoots out of my fingers.  Weird, I know… But that’s how I see it in my mind’s eye.  Thing is, there’s no right or wrong way to visualize this. It’s your intention that matters.  Intend that happy, loving energy is going in, and old, stuck energy is going out.  It’s as easy as that!  What my teacher was doing was clearing our energy, and it’s totally uplifting.

Many studies have been done showing the power of thought.  Energy clearing may sound crazy, but it is completely effective.  For reasons outside my control, I haven’t actually made it to a Taoist yoga class in about four months.  I was really worried that my anxiety would resurface.  It hasn’t, and I attribute my sanity to energy clearing.  I try to do this sort of visualization every morning when I wake up.  It only takes a couple of minutes and gives me a positive start to my day.  Of course, many mornings my son wakes up excessively early and grumpy as hell, so I don’t have time.  But the awesome thing about visualizations is you can do it anywhere or time.  A lot of times I do it in the car… Or in the shower… Or even on the toilet…  Haha!  Juuuuust kidding, though I suppose you could!  If done consistently, I promise it will make a world of difference for you.  As you ascend, that negative energy has no choice but to leave your body anyway.  Why not help it along, so you don’t have to struggle through feeling old emotions as they come up to be released?  Don’t know what I mean?  That’s okay.  You don’t need to.  Just clear your energy.  You can thank me for your good vibrations later.

Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch- Good Vibrations

The vibrations good like Sunkist
Many wanna know who done this
Marky Mark and I’m here to move you
Rhymes will groove you
And I’m here to prove to you
That we can party on the positive side
And pump positive vibes
So come along for the ride
Making you feel the rhythm is my occupation
So feel the vibration
Come on, come on
Feel it, feel it
Feel the vibration

It’s such a good vibration
It’s such a sweet sensation
It’s such a good vibration
It’s such a sweet sensation

 

~Namaste~

Becky

 

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