Medication & Meditation

August of last year I reached a crossroads. I was tired of struggling with depression and knew I had to make an active change. At the suggestion of my therapist at the time, I made an appointment with a psychiatrist to learn more about how medication may help rid me of the dark cloud that I couldn’t seem to escape out of on my own.

It just so happened that at this time I learned about Vedic meditation from Arden Martin. She described it as a simple meditation technique that required no effort and it sounded very appealing to me. I read up on the benefits of this Vedic meditation and got curious. Could it help me? So, the same week I met with the psychiatrist I also took a Vedic meditation course.

From the psychiatrist, I learned a lot about my options with medication. I felt comforted to know that I now had a doctor who knew my needs and whom I could contact if that was the route I wanted take. The following evening during my first Vedic meditation, I got in touch with an unfamiliar place inside myself that I can only describe as a nice warm hug.

I decided to experiment with daily meditation for a while and see where it went before pursuing medication. It has now been over a year and I can honestly say my meditation practice has changed my life.

I have risen out of the hole of depression and found a whole new perspective. On a (mostly) daily basis I dive into meditation and find that nice warm hug again and again. Not every meditation is blissful and some feel as if they go on forever, but if miss a day I crave it and always return back.

I don’t know what the future brings and I’m still open to the idea of medication if I need it. There’s no need to suffer and I think medication is a savior for so many people struggling with their mental health as I did. Today though, I reflect in gratitude about the meditation practice that changed my life.

Today I meditated in the chapel at my daughter’s school and these words came flooding through me. I share this all not to prove anything or preach anything but just to say, it IS possible to find light when you’re in the dark.  And who knows, you may find that light right inside of you.

🌟

There are so many of us.

In March, I learned I was pregnant, and at my first scan I learned it was with twins.

In April, I lost the babies.

Now I sit in my grief. Each day is a surprise. Sometimes I feel totally fine, and others I slip into despair. I wrote the following a few weeks after my D&C and wanted to share it here.

“I’ll never understand why they came to me to begin with- why they appeared as a possibility and the left, stopped.

I’ll never understand why I had to be alone that day when I learned it.

I’ll never understand why for only ten days, I had the privilege of feeling chosen. Being chosen to be a mommy to two souls born together.

Why the taste and then taking away?

Why the pain?

Why the loss?

Why the suffering?

I don’t know.

A comforting thought for me is that God isn’t a puppeteer who orchestrated this all. God cried first. Before I even knew.”

For anyone out there who has suffered a miscarriage, I sit in my grief with you. Please remember- you are NOT alone. There are so many of us.

 

 

Story Time Yoga

Last week the first official class of my new company JEM YOGA NYC began. I was nervous at first, bur once I got into the flow of leading the class it felt like I was soaring. I was back at it and had that feeling of “this is what I’m meant to do.” And the best part? Em was right there with me.

Em is used to going to classes and is also used to doing yoga with me at home. I think in her mind it was just a normal day! She went with the flow, did some poses, joined me for savasana and proudly said, “Bye Bye Yoga!” as I put away the little yoga mat I had brought.

I felt so much emotion when I got home last week after class, but the biggest one of all was pride for my baby. I put my passion for teaching on hold for a while when she came into this world, and to come back now feeling like my heart is more full than ever? I just feel so blessed!

Story Time Yoga Class 1Story TIme Yoga Class 2

 

 

That Moment 

I hadn’t taught kids in quite some time when I began teaching a few classes at a preschool last month. I was rusty and a little awkward and felt like it went… okay.

This morning I taught again and I felt my confidence in teaching surfacing again. It by no means went perfectly but there was this moment. 

It was when I walked into the last classroom and a girl was screaming crying and the kids were running and it was so loud. I sat down and began taking deep breaths, and something miraculous happened; the kids got silent and followed. 

We took a few breaths together and it was quiet and calm. And THAT moment, the brief pause between the lesson plan and the noise and the crying and the excited screaming and the running and the diving hugs, THAT is why I love sharing yoga with kids. 

If you watched a class it wouldn’t look like a clean and tidy yoga practice that’s tied in a bow. It would look a little messy and loud. But I’ve taught long enough to know that kids are sponges taking it all in in their own way. And what a gift for me today to bring them a moment of calm without saying a word. 

Mom Yoga, Toddler Yoga

Today I got in a yoga practice and it felt so good. I was able to do this because of Emily’s fascination with shoes. You see, she spent most of this time off to the side trying to get on her sneaker!

She wasn’t the least bit frustrated or annoyed as she did this over and over again, even though she never actually got her sneaker on. She was just content to be in the moment practicing something.  Isn’t it amazing how focused a child can be when exploring something they are interested in?

Emily reminded me of one of the Niyamas or observances in yoga called Santosha. Santosha means finding satisfaction in exactly who we are and where we are without wanting to change anything.

I am grateful that today we both got in a yoga practice. I got in my yoga through the poses (asana) and Emily got in her yoga by practicing her one-pointed focus (dharana) during her shoe-putting-on investigation!

Toddler Wisdom

Emily usually holds my hand and brings me with her as she wanders, but this past week she decided it was time to walk out on her own. She had the time of her life wandering around Riverside Park while Romeo (our dog) and I followed close behind. Her joy was infectious and my heart was exploding.

She is my most special teacher. Here are some lessons she has taught me.

Walking Beside Her

Every night as Em is winding down she does laps around the apartment. It’s like she’s walking off all her remaining energy. Tonight she kept grabbing my finger and leading me around with her. Even though I slept a lot last night I still felt so tired. I think that never ending tired feeling is just motherhood. 

Anyway, even though all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch and not move, and even though my mind kept wandering to the veggie burger and fries I would order once she went to bed, every time she grabbed my finger I walked with her. I reminded myself that she won’t always want to walk with me. She won’t always want to bring me along into her world with her.

So, I thought- as long as she wants to bring me into her world, I will be there walking beside her.

A Deep Exhale

Yesterday Em and I had a busy and stressful (for me) day. We had a follow up appointment with an orthopedist concerning Em’s hips. Being that she was a frank breech baby she was born with a risk of having hip dysplasia. For that reason, she was given an ultrasound on her hips at 6 weeks old and 3 months old.

We had a bit of a scare about her hips when she was six weeks old which left me a bit traumatized. You can read the back story here.

Our appointment was way across town which meant trekking across the city in the cold. I felt tense but breathed deeply and Em handled it like a champ.

We got there a half hour early. I know people say once you have a kid you’re always late but I haven’t found that (yet). Being late for something makes me SO anxious that I’m usually ridiculously early, even with my baby. I’m not saying this is a good thing. It’s just what always happens!

Being so early made me panic a bit wondering what the heck we would do for a half hour; however, The Hospital for Special Surgery happens to be amazing and very child-friendly. 

There was a woman playing ukulele in the waiting area! She asked for requests and gave Em her own show. She sang Itsy Bitsy Spider and I’m a Little Teapot. Em was entranced and so was I. When she sang “You Are My Sunshine” and changed the words of the first verse to be happier (like I do) I cried.

We got called in early and met with the lovely doctor who said Em’s hips looked great but they would do an x-ray just to be sure. When I asked how safe an x-ray was he explained it would be the same amount of radiation as a plane ride to California. We did that plane ride with Em so using that analogy soothed my worries.

We went across the hallway to get her x-ray and Em said “hi!” to everyone we saw. The receptionist. The 10 year old boy wearing headphones and watching a show on his phone. The mom waiting with him. The technician who walked by. She also pulled out my ponytail, snuggled into me tight and kept kissing me. Did she know I was scared? I don’t know. But she made me feel better.

As for the x-ray, I consider it a miracle moment. She laid perfectly still as we sang the ABC’s. It was shockingly easy as pie!

In the end we got confirmation that Em’s hips are developing normally and we don’t need to go back. I’m more relieved that I can explain here. The only way I could describe it is that Em having hip problems has been weighing on me since I was pregnant and learned she was breech. Now it feels like that weight is released and I am ten pounds lighter.

When we got home, I was physically and emotionally SPENT. My back was killing me from wearing 21 pound Em in the carrier all afternoon. I rolled out my mat. I rolled out Em’s mat, and this video is what happened.

I just want to say I’m so grateful for my healthy, sweet, social, communicative girl. My heart explodes every single day and I’m a way better person because of her.