Tag Archives: compassion

2014 in the Rearview Mirror

Man guys. 2014. Amirite?

It was such a doozy of a year, but as I go through all these questions I really feel like it was one of the best I’ve had. I feel like I’ve done a lot of fretting and worrying but I’ve also done so much growing and loving. I can’t really complain with that.

Apparently, sometimes it really is a good thing to look back and see how far you’ve come.

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

I attended a birth! I saw a real, live baby being born! I also had my first homebirth (!!!) and I attended my first cesarean section. Most of my firsts are firsts for my doula work. (First episotomy, first forceps etc, etc.) OH! I also took my FIRST, real adult vacation that wasn’t camping! How crazy is that!?

2. Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions, and will you make more for 2015?

I don’t even remember what mine were last year. Probably not. I will make some general intentions and a few longer term goals though this month. I think it is the right time for me to do so.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Weeeelllll, I saw a lot of births this year (17! SEVENTEEN!) , all people that were close to me by the end, but not family/friends.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes, sadly. My Aunt Becky passed away in October after a long multi-year battle with aggressive ovarian cancer.

5. What countries did you visit?

Just the good ol’ US of A.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you didn’t have in 2014?

I would like to have more stability next year though with a large move on the horizon, I don’t see that happening. Oh, how I dream of feeling stable and having roots. I’d at the very least, like to have a more solid plan for the next 5 years of our lives together. Dare I say I would like a pregnancy as well or is that crazy talk?

7. What dates from 2014 will be etched upon your memory and why?

I’m so bad at remembering actual DATES, I’m more of a memories kind of gal. I’ll never forget my first birth, the homebirth, a few other doula related moments. I will never forget standing atop Rockefeller Center with my family in June, our vacation for my birthday and my Aunt Becky’s passing. Hearing that my father was officially cancer free!!!

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?

Becoming a doula. By far. BY. FAR. I still cannot believe it happened.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Gaining weight back and treating my body like garbage. It’s made me feel so terrible. Inside and out.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I got a pretty good cold before Christmas and I have been battling a few injuries that have kept me down, but nothing major. Thankfully!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A vacation. My grocery delivery. (Yes, really.)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My husband’s. I’m not one to be all lovey-dovey on the interwebs but man, he really was pretty stellar this year. I worked 40 hour weeks, attended seventeen births (yes, I’m saying it again because OMG!!!1!), endless prenatal visits, interviews, postpartums and several TWO DAY births. I was ridden with anxiety and depression at times, I stressed, I struggled…and all along? He did the laundry, cleaned the house, cooked meals and held me while I cried. The guy even came to get me at work when I broke down late on Friday night and felt like I couldn’t go further. I mean…I just don’t know what I’d have done without him this year. It’s certainly given me some perspective.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Politicians. People on social media. Medical professionals. Anytime there’s an injustice – I feel so wounded for all involved. ALL.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Haa, oh NYC. My money all went to rent and cab fare. And dining out when I was too wasted and exhausted. Sadly it did NOT go to Broadway shows liked I would have preferred!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I got insanely excited about seeing Alan Cumming in Cabaret. Like…WOUND RIGHT UP excited. Andrew made us ‘take a walk’ when we got there because I just couldn’t settle down and sit still. Drinks may have been necessary to get me to just stop. But guys. ALAN CUMMING.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?

Ugh. Stupid old Taylor Swift, “Shake it Off”.  I really can’t stand her.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?

a) Happier
b) Fatter. Ugh.
c) Oddly enough, richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I’d seen more movies and had more quiet time with Andrew. I wish I’d seen more friends and gone out more.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying. Working.

20: How did you spend Christmas?

With my family in Maine. So happy we did.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?

Yes. With birth. I really, truly did. I just fell unapologetically, head-over-heels in love with it all.  I see amazing things happen! Life!

22. What was your favorite TV Program?

The Blacklist. The Good Wife. White Collar (it’s gonnneee!?).

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Hate is an ugly word.

24. What was the best book you read?

Baby Catcher, by far. It was so inspiring for me to read it! I was so grateful to get it as a CDP!

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Eh. I’ll admit I haven’t discovered much. Jason Mraz’s album with Raining Jane called “YES”.

26. What did you want and get?

Experience. Confidence. Direction.

27. What did you want and not get?

Time to myself. Stability. More time in a day.

28. What was your favorite film of 2014?

Hah. I saw one movie in 2014 – American Hustle. No joke. ONE MOVIE.

29. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?

I turned 34 on July 6th and we went to Boston! It was SO. FUN. We’d never taken a vacation that wasn’t to see family or camping. We stayed in an ACTUAL hotel, rented a real rental car and did touristy things! We got room service! It was just a much needed break.

30. WHat one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

More time to breathe.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2014?

Will blood wash out of it? Does it go with leggings? Will this work at the hospital?

32. What kept you sane?

Andrew. My birth friends.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

Honestly? The police brutality issues. It’s hard being the wife of law enforcement and can feel incredibly isolating.

34. Who did you miss?

My family. So hard. SO hard.

35. Who was the best new person you met?

My doula mentor and my childbirth ed instructor. Both are AMAZING women. One is a midwife now and one is just my best friend. Honestly. They were rocks for me and amazing resources. I wish I could hug them daily.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014?

Even when you aren’t sure of your purpose, you may be just exactly what someone needed.

First Amendment Freedom

I’ve really been struggling to find my way spiritually for years now. I’ve bounced back and forth from practice to practice, never really settling and never really feeling like I was HOME. One of my biggest problems was feeling like I didn’t know the rules. To anything. I felt pulled toward earth based spirituality, paganism, Wicca, but always felt lost. Where do I start? How do I know what I’m supposed to do? What if I do something wrong? What if I mess up? As soon as I’d get close, all these types of questions would flood my head and spirit and drown me, pushing me further away from that which I really wanted. What I really needed, was freedom.

I didn’t realize until recently, thanks to a few good friends, that there shouldn’t be any rules. This is MY spiritual practice. MY path. Why should I let the rules of others dictate what I believe, what I feel and what I put my faith in? Of course there are religious observances, dates that have meaning, holidays and other events that serve as landmarks, but beyond that. No God would come down and strike me for choosing the wrong gemstone in my prayer. There was no one watching me, to make sure the words I spoke in ritual were exactly what was written in some book. The only rules I was struggling with, were the ones I placed on myself.

I truly believe that no matter what your beliefs, Christian, Pagan, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist or otherwise our goals are the same. The tenants of each one are similar and teach us to love one another. They teach us to be aware of other living beings and those around us, to be compassionate and grateful for what we have in this moment. They ask us to have faith, to pray and to feel hope where otherwise you may have none. They ask us to be both content and gentle with ourselves, yet to always strive to be better. We learn to help others before ourselves. We learn to love our neighbours as family and to turn inward, listening to our hearts. Should it really matter what the label is, or whether you pray on a Saturday while I pray on a Tuesday?

I really cannot stand religious zealots that preach such EXTREME measures that it is almost absurd that they claim to be doing it on behalf of some religious practice. Really? Truly? Your God told you to go harass someone who is making an already awful, HORRIBLE decision, to make their life worse on that day? Really? Huh.  Your God told you that all of a specific race/gender are inferior? Huh. But he’s a loving God.  Interesting. Your God said that certain people shouldn’t be able to marry, despite the fact they love each other? Well what kind of loving, understanding and compassionate god is that? It certainly isn’t one that I’d want to be leaning on and trusting with my heart. What people say or think is so wildly out of perspective sometimes that I just cannot really fathom or understand. I can’t help but laugh and shake my head. I wish I could ignore it, but it affects OTHER PEOPLE. Your insane extremism, is AFFECTING OTHERS. It’s a type of injustice I can’t get over.  You do you people, I’ll do me and everyone else will do themselves and we’ll be happy and loving and compassionate. Cool? I wish.

Oh right. Back to me.

My friend said to me in guidance, “start small.” And while so many worries and ‘what ifs’ ran through my brain, I tried. I started small. The very next morning before I fully woke, I spent a few moments in silent prayer to Kuan Yin, asking for peace and compassion in my struggles. And again the next morning. And the next. And..it was peaceful. It was a little breakthrough and lesson to trust myself. To trust my instincts and truly listen to those nudges that most of us brush aside. still feel somewhat nervous and fearful that I am not moving fast enough or in the right direction. These feelings of strength in my beliefs are new and budding but they are coming. I like them and want to keep going.

Truthfully, in my mind it comes down to this: if what you believe is encouraging you to be a better human being – a more compassionate, loving and grateful being, then who is to say you’re wrong?