Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Self Improvement - Week 1

There are two new main driving forces in my life: my seven-month old son and a turn-of-the-century fixer upper house that we purchased in February. The baby needs constant care, attention, feedings, walks, playtime, comfort, and like all new mothers, I haven’t had a solid night’s sleep in more than 7 months. The house requires repair to every inch of it, head to toe, inside & out. For each job on the house numerous contractors need to be called in for estimates. When is there time to breathe? Stress. It can hurt you if it’s not well-managed. My husband injured his hand while unloading boxes from our storage facility & needed surgery to reconnect the nerves & tendons. We used to practice yoga but now neither of us has the opportunity to do so.

I came to this study with two main goals in mind: relieving stress and self-improvement.
Yoga used to help me immensely with these issues. Can facial reflexology? B also added an exercise for diabetes since I had gestational during my third term and I’m prone to it in the future. So far, I’ve aimed to do the exercises twice a day, early and late.

Week 1 kicked off with my weekend trip to the Berkshires. Relaxing? Not really. I spent the morning caring for my son & unpacking 7 crates of Haitian paintings & then when he took a nap, I began my reflexology exercises using the downstairs mirror. I was disrupted by a contractor who needed me to signoff on a permit. Then I had to pack and get us on the road by one to pick up my husband in CT & beat Friday I-95 traffic (I didn’t make it out until three). While in the mountains, I did do my exercises but was interrupted twice, i.e., the fireplace filled the cabin with smoke & set off the alarm. My husband’s grandmother passed away. Long story short, the weekend was a bit of a bust as far as the reflexology study goes b/c I was exhausted: my son cut his first tooth on Sunday (adorable) but he kept me up for 2 nights running & after driving back from the Berkshires, I lost the house keys & had to break-in, & then drive my husband to a Giants game in NJ & then drive to Fairfield to pay for something on Craigslist. I was in the car all day.

Monday & Tuesday were a different story. This is also when I started taking notes. On the third floor I’ve created a meditation & baby playroom. There’s a nice view of the upper branches of an old oak tree, below it, a newly planted Japanese Cedar, which is sacred in Buddhism, gold Oriental themed wallpaper from the 50s, a Thai futon, a walking mat of stones, my son’s rainforest gym that emits nature sounds, and his toys with soft bells. Kitsch, perhaps, but it’s peaceful & quiet. At 1pm, I began by sitting cross-legged in front of a mirror and I took note of my posture, breath, and body position. First I did the Basic Session starting with zeros, one, 19, 26, 34s, 103, 124s, 126, & ending with 127. Then I completed both Diabetes & Detoxification exercises, paused for breathing, and finished with the Chakras, twice. The first time, I worked on Lam, Vam, Ram, Yam, Ham, Sham, and Om as individual points while imagining the meanings, “grounding the spirit, creativity, digestion…” and so on. The second, I used a single stroke like B showed me, while thinking of the colors. In my notes, I wrote “relaxed and refreshed…clear headed.” I think I was surprised that I felt “refreshed.” At night before bed, I worked on the Basic Session, Toning Up, and Diabetes but in front of the bathroom mirror. I did the straight line of Chakras in bed with the lights out. I slept rather well.

On Tuesday at 2:30pm, I returned to the meditation room with my son and made the addition of scented Shea Butter for the facial exercises, which was a nice touch. I had similar results and also felt “pensive” afterwards. Then I enjoyed reading, “The Serpent & the Rainbow” for about thirty minutes. In my notes, I later added that I “kept track of details more easily than I normally do” – meaning that I’m usually tired or distracted while I’m reading and the book offers a lot of historical & character background that I was more capable of keeping straight – perhaps a result of the practice?

Wednesday it hit the fan again and my husband bought tickets for my son & I to travel to the UK for his grandmother’s funeral this Friday (I leave this Thursday and return Monday). I had to go to Greenwich and get my son’s birth certificate for a passport, and then on Thursday, we all drove into Manhattan for an immigration interview for an expedited passport, and then I had to return to Manhattan with my son on Friday to pick up the passport and buy a special shirt for my sister who had a first date since her divorce on Saturday etc. I did do my exercises but I did not perform them in the meditation room & did not take notes b/c I was short on time. I do remember feeling frustrated that I did not feel as relaxed afterwards, perhaps because they were hard days & I was more frustrated and stressed than usual.

Saturday and Sunday were busy days b/c my husband & I were working quite hard on getting the house ready for a visit from his aunt & uncle when we return from the UK. We hung nearly 30 paintings & mirrors. We shifted furniture around and had a grand piano delivered and my husband played, “Happy Birthday” to our son. Again, I did the exercises, which were not as good as the meditation room ones, however, I did have a productive session following taking my son for a nice walk around the neighborhood and putting him to bed. I wrote in my journal, “tired but greatly de-stressed.”

Monday/today: I needed to clear the kitchen for our contractor to go through our wall for rotted pipes. I had to do all the usual baby related stuff & help my husband pack & drive him to the airport. However, I found another place for me to practice reflexology effectively: the bath tub. My son enjoys sitting in his bouncy chair while I take a bath and I performed the Basic Session, which I’ve now memorized, and the Chakaras as a straight line.

Summary: I believe the sessions are far more effective when I choose a moment and place where I can really focus. The meditation room, the bath, and in bed are all good places for me to practice. I’ll need to find more this week as I get ready to take a 7-month-old on a transatlantic flight on my own. What are your favorite places to practice? Also, I want to try weight loss tomorrow since I think I’m stress eating on the days when I’m grabbing unhealthy, fattening meals on the go…

Until next week, C

1 comment:

bn said...

Hi C, again, thank your for finding time to start despite of what happened last week; I love the description of your meditation room/baby room and it sounds like it also might inspire baby A to meditate (nature sounds and soft bells). "I took note of my posture, breath, and body position" - you are doing yoga right there.. and you thought you did not have time- and added chakra balancing and the Dien Cham protocol..and you saw results.
I am naming a few of my favorite places to practice: bed, couch (pillow behind my back for spinal alignment, sitting on the yoga mat on a small inflated pillow cross legged, corpse pose...

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