Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Holiday Hangover

I am hung-over. Literally and figuratively. My body feels like it is in crisis from excessive amounts of booze and food over the last week. And my mind is crying “Mommy, it’s over!”. I get a little bit depressed in the days after Christmas. There is such a big lead-up to it, the excitement is almost overwhelming. And then, POOF!, it’s all over and I’m left feeling a little bit lost. Like, I’ve been celebrating Christmas for the last month, now what the hell do I do?!

I am using yoga as a cure-all for both of my hangovers. It felt so great to step back onto my mat this week. I had intentions of practicing at least once throughout Christmas, but it just didn’t happen. With 22 people in the house it was damn near impossible to find a quiet place to practice, let alone the time. So by Tuesday, after an almost week-long hiatus from my beloved yoga, I was feeling like a glutton and completely un-centered.

It’s been a slow start. I am getting back to practicing everyday, and eating more healthily. My body is used to overindulging, so I am hungry all the time. I am trying to fill up with fruits and vegetables, but with all the goodies from Christmas still around, it’s been a challenge! I am feeling much more grounded now too, and the holiday blues are all but gone. I am able to look at Christmas for what it was, smile at the memories, and remember that it is up to me to keep the glorious feeling of Christmas alive throughout the year.

Since my husband is still on holidays, we are still in party mode. But with a little yoga everyday, and a switch back to my regular diet, I believe I can get right back on track.

Until New Year’s …. and my birthday …. ah, crap.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

Here we are. Christmas is days away and I am super stoked. I love being with family (there’ll be 22 of us jammed into one house), eating, drinking, playing games and watching people open the gifts I chose for them. As I’m sure we all know, Christmas is so much more than that though. It is a time of year full of an array of different emotions: happiness, excitement, giddiness, sadness, depression and even anger.

The holiday season always conjures up memories of Christmases past and gone, leaving one nostalgic for the starry-eyed feeling we all had growing up, when we awoke Christmas morning. Though it’s sometimes hard to invoke those same emotions only a child could truly hold, there is one sentiment that rivals those feelings we all, as adults, could easily summon if we really sat back and thought of everything that we have - that of gratitude.

My husband and I have had a very tough year. As most of you know, in March we lost a son when I was 5 months pregnant. We named him Nate Clayton Bissonnette, a name we had been reserving for a son since our first daughter was born. At times, it has been a challenge to get out of bed in the morning. The loss we feel is immense. Our beautiful girls have helped to pull us through the darkness, and all we can feel is love and pride when we look at them.

Though my heart is still breaking, I have been able to embrace the Christmas spirit almost as fully as if Nate were still here. Our son has given us an indispensable gift - gratitude. We are so very thankful for the beautiful family that we have. Though I wish he could be in my arms this Christmas, I will forever be grateful to Nate for the ways I have learned to live so much more fully since he came into, and left, our lives. We have a special angel up in heaven this Christmas.

So, thank you to my son; thank you to my wonderful husband and beautiful girls; thank you to my ever-supportive and loving family; thank you to God for the many, many gifts he has bestowed upon us; and thank you to my readers, for listening to me rant and allowing me to throw my (perhaps) misguided opinions on to you.

If nothing else, I wish for us all this Christmas the capacity to be grateful for everything that we hold and a humble knowing that we already have everything we need.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 15, 2011

So Cry About It, Why Don’t Yah?

Though I’ve been feeling pretty good about the Christmas season upon us, I have had a heavy feeling in my chest lately. My shoulders feel like they are in vice grips, my neck stiff as a board and my jaw is wound up tighter than a nun’s … you catch my drift. I guess I am a little stressed out, and didn’t even realize it. I decided I needed to take action if I wanted to enjoy the holiday season.

A girlfriend and I discussed how sometimes you just need a big cry to let everything out, sometimes things you hadn’t even realized you were feeling. I’m a big cry baby. I cry when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m really pissed off and when I’m completely overwhelmed. It makes me feel better. And as much as I already do it, I think I should do it more often.

Tuesday night I had a big cry-fest. I’ve been avoiding it for a while. But every time I went to bed I felt depressed, that I needed to get something off my chest. So, I sat down with some pictures and some poems that I knew would upset me, and I cried. I sobbed actually. Everything that had been on my mind lately (and stored in my shoulders and jaw) came pouring out of my eyes. And the next day I felt much better.

I don’t know why people avoid crying like it’s the plague. It’s so good for you. It doesn’t show that you are weak. It shows that you are strong enough to bare your feelings. There is such a focus lately on people being in control of their entire world. That we should embrace the “bad times” and thank them as teachers as we journey through life. Perhaps this is true, but what about our other feelings? Of sadness, anger or resentment. Should those be ignored? I don’t think so, Tim. When something shitty happens, you should be upset! It’s the most natural thing to do. You can’t pretend that you are totally fine with whatever is going on and just ‘accept it’. You need to undergo those so-called negative emotions in order to work through your feelings towards the situation. Then, you can start to look at the incident as a learning experience and so on.

If you want to enjoy the good times in life, you need to experience the bad times. If you choose to ignore those feelings, they’ll end up in your shoulders, or present as a headache or an illness. Your body will suffer, and you will eventually be forced to come face to face with whatever is going on. So why not do it now? Sit down and have a good cry. If you have a hard time crying, maybe try some heart opening yoga poses - those always make me cry. Or watch Bambi, damn movie gets me every time.

“We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full.” - Marcel Proust.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Christmas 15

You’ve heard of the “Freshman 15”? It is the typical 15 pounds that freshmen put on during their first year of college/university after being able to drink excessive amounts of booze with no parents to scold them, and living off of a strict diet of pizza and Ichiban noodles. I think the holiday season can compare to an entire freshman year of over-indulging all wrapped up into a short 30 or so days.
When December 1st hits (or maybe before) so does the weight gain. With Christmas parties for work, get-togethers with friends, kids’ Christmas concerts, New Year’s Eve, etc. there are a plethora of opportunities for a person to engorge. But I don’t think ‘an extra 15 pounds on my ass’ is at the top of anyone’s holiday wish list.
So, how do you enjoy the spirit of the holidays without making a complete glutton of yourself? Try a few of these handy tips:
1. Eat! Healthily. Though we should all try to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet all of the time, it is especially important during the holidays. Number one, with so much on the go, you need to keep your energy up. Fruits and vegetables are key to keeping up with the energy-boosting vitamins you need to get you through your 12 hour shopping spree, not to mention the Vitamin D we miss from such little sun. If you know you have a party coming up and don’t want to have to hold back too much, (seriously you wanna have fun, right?!) have a smoothie for lunch and/or a salad for supper that day. Try cutting back on calories during the day if you know you’re going to be indulging that night - it’ll help to balance things out.
2. Get your rest. People tend to eat a lot more during the day if they are tired, and it’s usually not the healthiest of foods. I know if I miss out on some ZZZ’s I usually turn to food to keep me going. If you’re tired from being out late the night before, try taking a nap before you reach for a Red Bull and potato chips.
3. Do some yoga! Obviously, any kind of exercise is going to help you keep the weight off. Though it’s hard when you are so busy, try to maintain your regular practice. It will be so beneficial not only to keep you looking trim, but to calm your nerves after a frenzied trip to Wal-Mart. Also, try doing some yoga before going out to one of the many parties I’m sure you have. Exercise gets your body and your metabolism fired up. You can start burning the calories away before you even ingest them! The next day, do some more yoga. Include some deep twists to help detoxify your body and wring out any of the junk you put into it the night before.
4. Have fun! If you are stressing out about the holidays, then stop! Holidays are not supposed to be stressful! If there is something bothersome about the Christmas season, then you need to change how you do things or maybe how you look at things. Don’t worry! Enjoy your parties! Eat, drink and be merry, if that’s what you want to do! You don’t have to pig-out to enjoy yourself. But don’t hold back so much that you don’t have any fun. Personally, I’d much rather have a little jelly belly and enjoy the food and spirits involved with this time of year, than have tight abs and a rock-hard ass and not partake in any pleasantries.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Letter To Santa

I helped my girls write their letters to Santa Claus last week. I showed my oldest how to spell every word so she could write it herself and wrote the Little One’s out for her after she drew a picture for Santa. They asked for the typical things - Barbie, a ball, puzzles, a toboggan (I may have suggested that one!). My youngest asked for her two back teeth so her Mommy could sleep through the night again - wasn’t that nice of her?! The little dear. I tried to suggest they ask for world peace, but the Barbie won out!

Anyways, after we sent them out, I started to wonder what I would ask Santa for for Christmas, if I was to write him a letter. World peace sounds wonderful, but perhaps a bit of a daunting task. Maybe I could ask for more understanding and compassion for my fellow man … Heck, if everyone got that for Christmas, then world peace would surely follow!

As I think of it a little more, I realize that letters to Santa are typically quite selfish. Usually children ask for things for themselves, mostly material. I think that’s okay though, obviously for children who are selfish by nature, but maybe for us adults too. What’s wrong with wanting things for yourself?

And so I have been inspired to write a letter to Santa Claus, not for my children, but for me. Why the hell not?! I want things too! In it I will include material things, like those sweet mukluks I’ve been eyeing up, or perhaps another gadget for my kitchen. But I will also include some things on my list that can’t be bought from a store; like self-acceptance - to learn to love myself more for who I am, on the inside and outside.

I’m not sure what else I will ask for. I still have to find some me time to sit down and write the letter. But, I am really looking forward to making a list of things that I want!

I recommend you do the same. And it doesn’t have to be addressed to St. Nick. Write your letter as a prayer to God, or send it to the Universe, or to yourself. Write down the things you want; from life; from yourself; from Sears. Include it all! Sometimes we don’t truly realize what it is we want until we can write it on paper and see it with our own two eyes.

When you’re done, read it, then put it away somewhere safe. Then come back to it in a week, a month, a year. Read it again and see if you still want these things. If you do, and you don’t “have” them yet, make it happen! Don’t sit back and hope things will manifest out of thin air. Figure out what YOU need to DO, and do it!

You can get whatever it is you want. You may have to realize though, that what you want, is sometimes what you already have.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

When NOT To Practice Yoga

As much as I am a strong advocate for yoga and firmly believe that every person can benefit from practicing it, there are times when yoga is not your best option.

1. When you are super sick. When you are ill, what your body needs most is rest. If your sickness is fairly minor, like a mild cold, then yoga may be a great way to help you feel a bit better. But even then, you should be practicing restorative poses. If you have a long-term illness, like Crohn’s disease or cancer, meditation can be a wonderful way to help you work through all the shit running through your mind.

2. During menstruation. Okay, not really. There is a lot of controversy surrounding this issue however. Some believe you shouldn’t practice the asanas at all during your menses; some say it’s cool after the first three days; some say do what feels right in your body. I’m gonna go with the latter. Many women (like me) really feel like shit when they are menstruating; hard-core cramps, headaches, nausea, severe moodiness, the list goes on (right honey?!). For me, a gentle Yin or Restorative practice is what I need to help ground me and remind me how much I love my family and do not want to kill them J So, I naturally choose not to do inversions during my cycle, because they are intense and I do agree with the idea that it can mess with your flow, physically and emotionally.

3. If you are injured. Yoga can truly work miracles to help prevent injuries and to help you recover after an injury has occurred. But, if you just bent over to pick up one of your husband’s dirty socks (again) and put your back out, don’t be rushing to the mat to fix it. What you need is rest, and maybe medical advice. Give the injury time to heal on it’s own before slowly working your way back into your routine. has some great practices designed specifically for back injuries to help you ease back into it. *Be sure to speak to your doctor before starting any exercise regimen after an injury*

4. If you are loaded. So you totally just nailed that pose you’ve been working on for months. You’re sitting around havin’ some drinks with friends and you are eager to show off what you can do. Before you try to swing up into a handstand, DON’T DO IT YOU DUMBASS! Yoga is all about balance and having a clear mind, of which you have neither when you’ve swizzled back a couple of beers. Wait until you’re at your next yoga practice and show your instructor what you have accomplished (she’ll be super stoked for you, I’m sure).

What it really comes down to is listening to your body. Our culture has taught us we need to push ourselves to the limits. That’s bogus. If you are tired, rest. If it hurts, don’t do it. Your practice will not suffer because of it, but only grow stronger. Your body will tell you what it needs, if you can clear your mind long enough to hear it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

En Bonne Santé

I’m sick. Again. Since sending my youngest to Playschool for the first time in September, where she seems to pick up a new bug every week, the whole family has been sick off and on for two months. Happy times! No, not really.

It’s that time of year. Cold and flu season. The weather has changed and we commence the stretch of being cooped up inside, openly sharing our nasty germs with whomever comes our way.

While washing your hands has got to be the single most sure-fire way to avoid getting sick (my hands are raw from cleansing them a hundred times a day), there is another trick available to you to help boost your immune system and stave off those malicious viruses. YOGA!

Everyone knows that leading a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and eating well is going to help keep you from getting sick in the first place, and minimize your down-time when you do succumb to a virus. Yoga can help with this ten-fold. Unlike most other forms of exercise, yoga includes something more to help you - Savasana. It forces you to lay the fuck down and relax. As long as you do it. I know some of you yogis skip it sometimes (insert stern look here)! Pranayama, or yoga breathing, also helps you to relax your entire being.

Being tired and run-down is one of the top reasons people get sick or are sick for a longer period of time. You just HAVE to get that report done; you can’t take a sick day, you have a meeting; heaven forbid little Johnny miss a hockey practice so you can sleep in and get some rest! My youngest daughter has been teething/sick/having a growth spurt/having separation anxiety/being a terrible two-year old for the last month. Needless to say, I was worn right out. I got sick. Such is life. But, after allowing myself a solid 10 hours of sleep (thanks honey!) and a few restorative yoga practices, my cold was fairly mild and is almost out the door.

Yoga also helps to get those healing juices in your body flowing. Practicing poses that include twists mushes up your insides, activating your lymphatic system. Inversions also help to get those liquids moving to parts of your body it sometimes has a hard time reaching.

Practicing yoga brings you back to that place of tranquillity where you are reminded that you and your health are important. It allows you to calm your mind and relax your body, even if just for a short while, so your body can find the rest it needs to mend.

So, the next time you feel that all too familiar tickle in your throat (or before it gets to that point) lay down in Supta Baddha Konasana and give yourself permission to heal.

Or you could eat some Chicken Noodle Soup-ta Baddha Konasana J

Thursday, November 10, 2011


To forgive is one of the most powerful expressions of love there is. In order for forgiveness to occur, there first had to have been an incident that either caused yourself or another pain; sometimes physical, oftentimes emotional. That’s why forgiveness is so difficult. You are telling either yourself or someone else that it is okay that you were hurt, even if the hurt was on a very deep level.

So, there is a process to forgiveness. To start with, you have to admit you were hurt in the first place, which is a daunting task for many. Especially in situations where people feel they need to ‘save face’. It’s hard to admit to someone that they have the capacity of hurting you, and even harder to admit you’ve been hurting yourself. The action immediately throws down any walls you’ve built around yourself and opens your heart. Doesn’t that sound good though? So liberating. To throw down walls and open your heart.

Forgiveness can be such a basic act. I watch my eldest daughter forgive my younger one time and again for hitting her (we’re working on that). The love I see between them is amazing. I am humbled by the amount of times my husband has forgiven me for being snappy and moody with him (I’m working on that too). The love I feel between us incredible.

In yoga class a few weeks ago, my instructor gave us all a small piece of paper and a pen and asked us to write on it “I forgive ________”, then fill in the blank. She explained it could be forgiving someone else, or forgiving ourselves. I sat for a while then began to write, “I forgive Clayton for dieing.” My brother died 12 years ago in a car accident. It wasn’t his fault, it wasn’t anybody’s fault. But I was still hurting so badly and so fucking mad at him. As I was writing it, I realized I had forgiven him a long time ago, but it was so healing to write it down on paper and see it.

I hadn’t realized you could forgive for something that really wasn’t caused by anyone. But, if you were hurt, then there is a place there for forgiveness. It is the process of letting go. Someday I will forgive myself for letting my baby die. Someday I will forgive him for leaving me. I think the act of self-forgiveness may be the most powerful expression of love there is.

Sometimes forgiveness is not meant for the person you are forgiving. When you hold a grudge or a deep wound from something that happened to you because of the actions of another person, you are only hurting yourself. All the pain and resentment and sometimes hatred you feel towards that person is actually inside of you, eating away at your light. That person may not even know, or care, that you have been feeling this way. To forgive someone for their hurtful actions liberates you, not them. It allows you to say, “I’m not going to let myself feel this way, because of something you did”. Forgive so that you can move on and move back into the light, and leave them behind with the darkness. Easier said than done. But so worth it.

Forgive yourself. Forgive someone else. Do it now, and love your life.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

“Oh, I’m not __________ enough to do yoga.”

I hear it all the time. “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga. I’m not strong enough to do yoga. I’m too old to do yoga. Not enough time, not enough money … “. You know what? I call BULLSHIT! These could be excuses for any form of exercise people are trying to avoid, but I want to focus on yoga. You know why? Because yoga truly is for every body.

Okay, I admit it. If you’ve never practiced yoga and you pick up the latest issue of Yoga Journal with the cover featuring some skinny bitch twisted up like a pretzel, it can be a bit intimidating. But that is so not yoga! Well, it is. But if you consider it for a minute, do you really think that skinny bitch just decided to twist herself into that position one day, and did it no problem? Of course not! The poses featured on the cover of those magazines are the result of those yogis having practiced for years.

So, yes. Every body is different. And that is exactly why yoga is perfect for everybody. You can modify the poses and the entire practice to fit your specific needs and abilities. Yoga makes you more flexible. Yoga makes you stronger. Dare I say, yoga makes you younger?

I went to the studio last Friday night to watch the documentary Yogawoman with my instructor and some fellow yogis. What really stood out for me was how many different bodies I saw practicing yoga in the film. There was a woman who was 39 weeks pregnant; a woman who would be classified as about 200 pounds overweight; there was an 8 year old girl and a 95 year old woman - all practicing yoga. Let me say that again. Ninety-five years old, practicing yoga. No, she wasn’t hanging out in plow pose. She was seated on a chair doing arm raises and lying in her bed doing some simple twists. But, she was doing yoga and looked damn good doing it. I would have given her 80 years, tops.

I understand that some of you just aren’t interested in yoga. If you have your own thing going on (maybe a Zumba class?) then that’s awesome. But, lemme say this. Just try it. No, not one class. Try it for a month of classes. You can’t know if you truly like (or don’t like) something if you only try it a handful of times. Maybe the one class you went to was not the style of yoga you would prefer to practice. There are so many different types of yoga. Maybe the instructor that lead the class you went to just wasn’t your kind o’ people - try a new studio/instructor.

When it comes to not having enough time, there is time. You have to make time. For you. It may take some figuring, but you should always find time for you.

Some yoga classes can be expensive, especially for those on a tight budget. You could subscribe to for $18/month and get unlimited classes. You could subscribe to Yoga Journal for less than $20/year and practice the sequences featured in the mag. Or you could purchase a yoga DVD and follow that for your practice.

I guess what I’m saying is, don’t tell me you can’t do yoga, because you can. What’s your excuse? I dare you to give it a go. It’ll rock your world. And if it doesn’t, at least you can honestly say you’ve tried.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Like the ornery bitch she is known to be, Monday rose up to greet me with a slap in the face. My youngest decided she should get up every hour throughout the night, making Monday morning less than pleasant. With monster bags under my eyes and a fuzzy brain, I attempted to get my kids fed and watered without screaming at them for looking at me the wrong way (alas, I did not succeed … bah, they’ll get over it). Needless to say I was tired. No … I was fucking exhausted. I knew I needed to find something to help me through the day.

I started with food. Food gives you energy. Pretty simple concept. On a day like I was having, it was tempting to break into the Halloween candy a little early (yeah, like I haven’t done that yet!) and binge on mini chocolate bars for an instant power boost. Since it was only 7:30 am, I opted to try something that may last a little longer and not add even more inches to my ass. I went with a banana and peanut butter toast - yummers! Anyways, you catch my drift. Good food = good energy. Here’s an article I found with a great energy-boosting menu for such a day (maybe a little heavy for women, but if you’re dog-tired, a hearty menu may be just what you need).

My daughter had a hard time with her nap that afternoon as well, meaning Mommy didn’t get a nap in either. By then, eating every hour was getting old and I needed a new idea - YOGA!!

I know, when you are totally bushed, the last thing you wanna do is something strenuous. But exercise gives you energy too. So, I pulled out my trusty iPad, logged onto and proceeded to be reenergized with one of Jason Crandell’s fabulous classes. It was kinda like a reverse class. Only a half-hour long, we started in Savasana, did a few simple yet revitalizing poses, and ended in standing meditation. It was perfect! I actually felt the best I had all day. I realized recently too, that (on days my child lets me get a normal sleep) I don’t actually need as much sleep as I used to. Ten hours a night was a must for me, but since I’ve started to practice yoga more regularly (3-4 times/week) I have more energy!

Well, I’ll be damned! Apparently eating well and exercising gives you more energy! Who knew?! I should tell someone, right? ;)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Heart Backbends

We spend most (if not all) of our day bent forwards in one way or another. Hunched over a computer at work, stooped over tying up little people’s shoes, huddled over nursing your baby, or arched over making supper. A backbend allows you to bring your body out of the yuckiness of all that hunching over and put it back into alignment.

I tried my first full wheel during a yoga workshop with Sadie Nardini when she was in Moose Jaw in the spring. While holding on to my partner’s ankles, I was able to push up into the backbend. It felt so good to use my body in a fashion I had never done before! I was eager to continue practicing.

Since Sadie’s workshop (6 months later), I am now able to push up into a full wheel. I can stay up for about 10 seconds and the feeling is exhilarating. I prefer to call backbends ‘heart-openers’ because that is exactly what they do - open your heart, both on a physical and emotional level. The reason backbends are known as heart-openers is because you are literally opening your heart up and out. But they are also known as such because of the feeling you get when you practice them. With your heart open like that, oftentimes emotions that you didn’t know you were feeling are able to rise to the surface and be liberated. I have found myself crying while in a backbend (or afterwards) for many reasons, happy and sad. But I always feel better after (so free), knowing I have given my body and my spirit a complete release.

Backbends are intense though! You need to approach them with caution and awareness. Be aware of where your body is right now and don’t push yourself past what is right for you. It takes a long time for your body to become flexible enough to open up into most backbends. Your mind will resist too - it knows that bending backwards isn’t how you usually use your body, and it will try to forbear your efforts. Backbends are all about trust. Trusting yourself not to push too hard (but enough to progress) and trusting your body.

There are so many different asanas in yoga that include backbends. Start slow, maybe with Bridge or Sphinx pose. As you become more flexible in your back and more confident you’ll find your body more able to release into the deeper backbends. Above all, enjoy the journey!

*Please note, I am NOT a yoga instructor. Always talk to a certified instructor before trying any new pose*

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Story

I have been pregnant 5 times. My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage when I was nine weeks pregnant, complications with Crohn’s disease they said. My second gave us our first daughter. I miscarried my third pregnancy when I was 7 weeks, a blighted ovum - they said there wasn’t even a baby there anymore. My fourth pregnancy resulted in the birth of our second daughter. My fifth and most recent pregnancy ended when I delivered our stillborn son when I was 5 months pregnant. They told me he had been gone for weeks.

Are you uncomfortable now? You don’t really want to read any further? Maybe you feel sorry for me that I would put myself out there like that …

Why? Does my grief offend your sensibilities? Maybe on the surface. But I think you’re afraid. Afraid of it happening to you, afraid of admitting you feel grief too, afraid of what others would think. I can’t imagine any other reason why society dictates that when women suffer the loss of a pregnancy, they need to suffer in silence. It has to be fear …

I have tried to “hide” every one of my pregnancies. Until I reached that magical ‘3 months’ when the pregnancy (usually) is deemed to be viable and you are more than likely to be holding a new babe in your arms in a short six months. And so, for both of my miscarriages, I grieved without the support of most friends, professors and some family, simply because they didn’t know.

When we lost our son Nate, I was 5 months pregnant. Everybody knew we were expecting … I like that word ‘expecting’. We were ‘expecting’ to have a baby in July. It didn’t happen. Our ‘expectations’ were not met. I … we … were crushed. But the outpouring of support we received from everyone is what helped us (and is still helping us) get through. I realized how helpful that would have been after my other two losses.
I understand first hand why some women would prefer to grieve alone. A lot of people don’t get it. With miscarriage, they don’t really think you’ve lost a baby. They think they’re comforting you with words like “Well, at least it was still early.” Like because your baby was really small, that means you loved it less. Or, “It was God’s will”. Honestly, that’s just going to make me even more pissed at God then I already was.

Most people mean well, but they don’t know what to say or do. So, they come out with awkward lines, or end up not doing anything at all (which is so much worse). And the reason they don’t know what to say or do, is because they’ve never really dealt with it before, because people don’t talk about it.

Nobody wants to believe babies die. But they do. And the parents who have suffered such a tremendous loss need your support. And the only way I can see things changing, is if those of us that have suffered start speaking up. A new pregnancy shouldn’t have to be something that you hide. You should be able to rejoice, knowing you will have the full support of your friends, family, co-workers, church, etc., if something does go wrong. So, I will tell my story, and invite others to do the same. In the hopes of encouraging a more aware, supportive and compassionate people.

This Saturday, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Together with my husband and girls, we will walk to remember Nate and our other two angels; to support those walking with us; and to represent the others suffering alone.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Things I Learned on Salt Spring Island

I arrived home from my yoga retreat on Monday night and only now do I feel ready to talk about it. It was so incredible, but so much to take in. I’m not gonna say my time at The Salt Spring Centre of Yoga was life-changing (I’ve had enough of those experiences this year) but, I do feel I found what I was looking for. With so much to say about my time away, I find I can’t do it justice writing on my little blog. If you ever wanna ask me about something specific, please do. Here, a list of some of the things that I learned on the island:
  • I love yoga. Okay, I already knew that, but it was reaffirmed this weekend. Practicing makes my body and my mind feel so damn good.
  • I am yoga philosophised out, for now. I learned so much about who I want to be as a person and was fed so many inspiring quotes and life affirmations. But, I think if I read one more motivational citation my head will explode. Time to sit back and let everything absorb!
  • Speaking of being fed - I realized that I can easily go four days without any meat (the vegetarian meals they fed us were phenomenal), but I can’t go as long without a drink! Caesars for breakfast anyone?!
  • Everybody has a story they carry with them, deserving of our compassion and understanding. Just because that beautiful girl over there seems like she’s really got everything going for her, doesn’t mean she’s not battling an eating disorder.
  • People in BC think you’re weird if you’ve never been on a ferry before.
  • Salt Spring Island is a healing, magical place. Ancient folklore says the Natives of BC would never live on the island, but would come over and stay for days when in need of both spiritual or physical healing. I certainly could feel it’s magic working on me.
  • I want a simple life. I want to live quietly, surrounded by those that I love, and those that love me.
  • I want to teach. I’m not sure if I’m drawn to kids, or they’re drawn to me (or both), but I found the best conversations I had while away were with the children of the island. I prize their honesty and the way they can look at life and just see things they way they are. I want to be around them more.
  • Many believe that, during your first three days of menstruation, you shouldn’t do inversions (i.e. handstands, legs-up-the-wall, etc.). The instructors at the centre’s point of view was that it can mess with both the natural flow of energy and the natural flow of, well, your period. Kinda makes sense to me …
  • I can do poses I never thought I’d be able to do in a million years, like Firefly Pose. (Okay, so I had blocks under my hands and my legs weren’t straight, but I was still thrilled). Imagine what YOU can do with a little practice!!
  • I can meditate! I find it really hard to let my mind be blank and really concentrate on … nothing. But after some breathing practices, I found I was able to meditate for real (not just sit with my eyes closed while wondering what to make for supper). I only became conscious I was truly meditating after snapping out of it and realizing my mouth was gaping open and I was drooling, but I did it!
  • Participating in Kirtan was a moving and humbling experience. It was wonderful to see the community brought together to praise whoever or whatever it is each of them believes in such an open and accepting way.
  • There’s no place like home.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Maybe You Should Fly a Jet! Maybe You Should Be a Vet!

I seriously don’t know what I wanna be when I grow up. I haven’t had a (paying) job in over 6 years. I’ve been at home with my girls for five of those years, and did manage to get my Education Degree from the U of S in the meantime, but do I really want to be a teacher? To be with snotty, bratty kids all day, just to come home to my own snotty brats?! Okay, kids aren’t that bad. I love them. I find myself drawn to them and have to fight back the urge to pick them up and snuggle them. But still, I wonder if I would quickly burn out from such a demanding vocation.
Being at home with my girls has been wonderful. To be there every time they needed has been a gift. But, I need more. As Miranda from SATC 2 confessed so honestly: “Being a mother is not enough for me.” I bawled my eyes out when I heard her say that because, for me, she really hit the nail on the head.
I’ve made peace with that, but that’s about as far as I’ve gotten. I feel like a teenager on Career Day. I see all the possibilities out there and am excited. Media says you need to follow your dreams and do something you’re passionate about. I’ve been trying to make lists to decide what I’m truly passionate about. My list includes such things as cooking, baking and writing. But then there’s the problem with the rational part of my mind saying; “You can’t do that! You have a family to think of!”.
And so goes the swirl of undecidedness (My spell check says that isn’t a word, but I know it is. Doesn’t it know I’m a teacher?). Back and forth until I get very bitchy, emotional and discouraged.
I am leaving on Friday morning for a yoga retreat on Salt Spring Island in BC. Four days away from everyone and everything familiar. I can’t wait. The idea is for me to have enough time to myself to actually be able to decipher through some of my thoughts and maybe even make some life-changing decisions. Yoga brings me to a place where I can open my mind and let truth flow in and out. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
And if that doesn’t work, I think I’ll just rely on the genius of Dr. Seuss to guide me. I think I’d be a really good hammock tester!

Maybe You Should Fly a Jet! Maybe You Should Be a Vet!Want to be a ticket taker? Want to be a pizza maker?
Lobersterman, jockey, TV fixer, ballet dancer, soda mixer
Do you want to be an astronaut? Or keeper of the zoo? You’ve got to do something.
What DO you want to do?
Tailor? Sailor? Nailer? Jailer? You’ve got to BE someone sooner or later.
How about a wrestler … a writer … or a waiter?
How about a dentist? How about a florist? How about a forester working in a forest?
Do you wish to be an oil refiner? Diamond miner? Dress designer?
How about a paper hanger? How about a bass drum banger?
Do you want to do your work outdoors? Do you want to work inside?
Would you like to be a plumber … a policeman … or a bride?
Would you rather work in a mountain town …or in the desert lower down?
Pet shop owner, money loaner, how about a slide tromboner?
How about a perfume smeller? How about a fortune teller?
You could be a turkey farmer. You could be a teacher.
You could be a lot of things. How about a preacher?
You could be a clown! Or a coffee perker!
How about an iron worker?
Fireman, tireman, telephone wireman.
Some girls make good picture framers. Some girls make good lion tamers.
Some guys make good tightrope walkers. Other guys are better talkers.
Maybe you should fly a jet. Maybe you should be a vet.
How about a deep-sea diver? How about a beehive hiver?
Would you like to be an actor? Would you like to run a tractor?
Like to drive a taxicab? … Or run a big computer lab?
Tennis pro … optometrist Hockey pro … podiatrist
Chemist … Lepidopterist
Glass blower, mushroom grower, How about a fishbone boner or a roller coaster owner?
Would you sooner be a ballooner or a grand-piano tuner?
Olympic champion? Mountain guide? It’s not easy to decide.
You’ve go to be someone! You can’t just be a doodler.
You could be a sculptor … or, perhaps, a noodle noodler.
You might be a mystery guy! Would you like to be a spy?
Maybe you should be a vester … a jester or a hammock tester.
Maybe you should be a voice. Someday you must make a choice.
Maybe you should be a FOICE! ?????
When you find out what a FOICE is, you can tell us what your choice is.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cure for a Bad Day

Everybody has bad days. Monday, for me, was no exception - I had a real shit day. I could hand you some bullshit lines about being thankful for the bad days because they make you appreciate the good ones more. Or how you have a choice and actually decided to have a bad day, that it didn’t just happen. They’re probably right, but seriously, who wants to hear that when they’re struggling to get through the day? Instead, go ahead and give a big “Fuck you” to anyone that says that to you, then try some of my practical solutions to lifting your spirits:

1. Talk to someone about it - Sometimes you can be pissed off at the world and not even really know why. I find it helps to talk it out. Either with a good friend, your spouse, your mom, or even yourself in a journal. Once you figure out the problem it’ll be much easier to work on “fixing it”. Don’t forget to get a big hug (or have a quickie, if appropriate).

2. Cry - When you’re having a bad day, no matter what the issue, you certainly have a range of emotions coursing through your mind and body. Crying is an emotional release. It helps to get rid of all the shit that you’re feeling inside.

3. Get some exercise - practice your yoga, go for a walk, go to the gym, or if you’re really pissed off, have a match with a punching bag. This too helps to relieve some serious built up tension which will make room for more healing vibes to flow through.

4. Lift your spirits with some spirits - Have a drink. A warm drink. With booze in it. My girlfriends make fun of me (bitches) because I’m always drinking teas or coffee when we go out for drinks. But, I find them calming, relaxing and warming. It’s like getting a hug from the inside out. And the booze helps to mellow even the most stressed out. I’m sipping this one as I write. Yummy J

5. Watch a Disney movie - There’s nothing like a good-natured children’s movie to make you feel better. Pick your favorite from when you were a kid and hunker down on the couch. It’ll make you laugh and perhaps revive that carefree feeling every child has that seems elusive to us “grown-ups”. Beauty and the Beast is playing in the background right now.

6. Get some sleep - Just go to bed. Everything always seems better in the morning after a solid 8 hours. Try to leave whatever is bothering you on the kitchen counter, you can pick it up again in the morning, if you have to. Lay your head on that pillow knowing you’re a good person and are doing your best. Close your eyes and dream about Ryan Reynolds. Or Megan Fox. She’s hot too.

Have a nice day! J

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


The violence that occurred 10 years ago on September 11th bothers me more today than it did then. I knew what had happened was awful (I remember saying “This is, like, as bad as when JFK was killed). I was only a year out of high school though. I didn’t even know what the twin towers were. I didn’t understand how it would shape our world and change the lives of everyone on earth.

I’m finding it hard to wrap my head around the idea that someone can be so evil. Worse catastrophes have happened than 9/11. Millions of people have been killed by natural disasters, each one of them just as devastating as the other. But these terrorists, these people, did this on purpose. They wanted to kill and destroy the lives of thousands of others. Where does that hatred come from? It’s so fucking scary (and sad) to think that there are human beings out there capable of doing this.
I wasn’t happy the way some were when Osama Bin Laden was killed. I find it hard to rejoice in the death of another human being, no matter how evil the person may have been. I mean, it’s good that he is gone. It was a sad day for me though, to know that violence begets violence. Honestly, I would have preferred they captured the SOB and made him rebuild the towers by hand, by himself. Now that he’s dead, he has been freed. Maybe, by some off-chance, eventually, the evil in his heart could have been replaced with understanding, or compassion or, by God, even love?
I was filled with a sense of renewed hope in the human race when little Kienan was returned safely to his family. Whoever did take him, though obviously evil in some way, had to have had some love in his heart. Perhaps it was the plea the boy’s father made for his safe return, or maybe the guy just wanted to be rid of the kid so he didn’t end up in the slammer (for as long). Regardless, something in that man made him return that little boy unharmed.
Yoga promotes non-violence. You can take that as you like. Some believe that eating meat is violence, so they don’t. In that respect, I guess I am a violent person. Everybody is in some way, I’m sure. I suppose all we can do is try. Try to love, understand, and be compassionate towards one another. I think violence would have a very small role in our lives if we could all live like that. One can dream, right?!
I think John Lennon had it right -

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Come Away With Me

My husband and I took a hiatus from life this past weekend. We packed our bags, left the kids with his sister and escaped to a little paradise on the prairies, Historic Reesor Ranch. My God, did we need it. We had an amazing time. We were humbled by the vast blue sky and entranced at night when a billion stars came out. We were overwhelmed with excitement (and a little intimidated!) when a group of four or five horses came running towards us in the field, nibbling our jackets and bumping us with their noses looking for a treat and a rub. We were drunk from the magnificent scenery while riding horseback through the hills, and from the wine at the Cypress Hills Vineyard and Winery.
No kids, no TV, no shopping malls, no telephones (okay, we did listen to the game, Go Riders!) We fell in love all over again. With each other and with ourselves. Taking a break reminded us about what’s important in life. We came home brimming with a refreshed love for our children. And we were prompted to look again at our lives and the things in it we would like to change.
I also took a break from yoga last week. I caught the cold my daughters had been tossing around and really felt down and out. Now, I’m all for practicing yoga while battling an illness. I truly believe it can lead you to a quicker path of recovery. However, being at home with my girls, I had to make a choice. It was either have a much needed rest, or practice yoga. I just don’t have the time for both. So, I decided to give my body what it was craving the most and slept while my little one did.
While on our weekend getaway, I had all the time in the world. So I rolled my mat out onto the grass and had a restorative practice while saluting the sun for real. It was so healing. Yesterday morning I enjoyed a more invigorating class with Tracy and am ready to tackle the world again.
Taking a break is a good thing. My kids had a wonderful time and are learning that things are pretty cool when Mommy isn’t around. Everybody needs a breather from their work, kids, spouse, diet, yoga, so you can learn again to appreciate what you have. No matter how much you love something, you can still use a time-out from it. What can/should you take a break from?

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder”- William Shakespeare

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I think ‘commitment’ is a term that is hard for my generation to understand. Ours is a world where almost everything is done for you; people expect immediate results and everything to be easy. You’re hungry? You can have a meal in less than five minutes from the microwave. Can’t remember the name of the cute one from NKOTB? Google will tell you in a matter of seconds. (It’s Jordan, by the way) Wanna get married? Hop on a plane to Vegas and hit up a chapel. Bada-bing! You’re hitched. And if it doesn’t turn out, you can just get divorced, right? No big deal.
My grandparents just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Holy shit. 60 YEARS! That is two of my lifetimes. In their 60 years together, it certainly could not have been all rainbows and lollipops. They have suffered the loss of a son, a grandson, and a great-grandson. They have also been able to experience the joys of watching their 9 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren grow. There have been numerous ups and downs, I’m sure. But they did it all together. Because they love and are committed to one another and their marriage.
I’m sure all of us have something we are struggling to remain committed to. Be it working out; eating healthfully; your marriage; your job. It’s hard. It’s supposed to be. “Nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy”. I strive to remain committed to my yoga practice. It’s hard for me to find time to practice the asanas (postures) with my girls at home. And even harder for me to remember to bring the teachings of yoga into the rest of my life. But I am committed to finding the time, everyday, for me and my family. Because the better I take care of myself, the better I can take care of my family. For me, it’s family first. And that’s one thing I can easily commit to.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A New Perspective

My intention was to post once a week on here, usually every Thursday. I was inspired to write earlier though, so I did. I was going to wait until Thursday to post this, but I thought, ”This is my blog, I can post whenever the fuck I want to.” I can also write the word fuck. Fuck. (Oh fuck, don’t tell my mom!)


I was picking apples from our apple tree in our backyard recently. When I was done (or thought I was) I decided to look the tree over again, just to make sure I had gotten them all. I went around and found a few stragglers. My neck was hurting from looking up all afternoon, so I decided to crouch down to relieve some pain and to get a different point of view of the tree. As I looked up, there it was. The largest, greenest, most beautiful apple on the tree right above my head. I plucked it from the branch and thought to myself, “If I hadn’t looked at this tree from a different perspective, I never would have found that apple”.

Later that same day I attended my weekly yoga class. I remembered reading somewhere that the next time I’m in class, I should set up my mat someplace different than my “usual” spot to gain a new perspective. So I set up on the other side of the studio, where I had never been before. Honestly, I didn’t like it, and will probably move back to my same old spot next time. I found it more difficult to see the instructor and, being a keener, I like to have a solid reference point so I know if I’m where I should be. However, I did end up having a bit of a laugh with the lady who had set up shop next to me (it was really more of a mutual snort and grimace as we tried to hold plank pose after some serious ab work).

I guess what I learned that day was, even though it might make you uncomfortable, looking at some thing from a new angle may help you to realize something beautiful you didn’t even know was there.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Yoga and Me with Child

I would love to tell you that after my first experience with yoga I went on to become a full fledged yogi, practicing everyday, and am now a master. I would love to tell you that, but I can’t, because I didn’t. I went to a handful more classes and then found out I was pregnant with our second daughter.
Unfortunately, via a group of misinformed doctors and nervous yoga instructors, I was advised not to practice yoga during my first trimester of pregnancy. So I quit. My husband was soon being moved ahead in his work and we were on our way to Moose Jaw, SK.
I continued my workout regime with an old pregnancy aerobics workout I had on VHS from the ‘80’s. While I (lightly) bounced around my living-room mimicking women clad in fluorescent coloured leg warmers and leotards, yoga became something I had tried a couple of times and really liked, but just didn’t have the time for. I was also nervous to try it again, even after my first trimester, because of past complications with my pregnancies, and the fears the doctor had instilled in me.
After our daughter was born though, I knew I needed to get back into shape, and was ready to try yoga again. I had an old friend who pointed me towards the venue in Moose Jaw where she practiced, Body In Mind Yoga Studio. I met Tracy, the fabulous owner of the studio, attended my first class with her, and haven’t looked back.
My yoga practice enabled me to build my body back up after another c-section and regain my sanity after a prolonged case of the “baby blues”. After becoming pregnant with our third child, my practice during my first trimester helped me to keep calm while my hormones raged out of control and relieved my back pain.
Recently, after the devastating loss of our son during my 5th month of pregnancy, yoga is helping to bring me back physically, emotionally and spiritually. Without it, I would be a puddle on the floor.

Note: Yoga, for most women, is absolutely okay to practice during your first trimester, and throughout your pregnancy. The benefits are too many to name. But you MUST check with your doctor first. There are definitely some poses you need to avoid while pregnant, so have a good chat with your doctor and your instructor first.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Yoga and Me

I first met Yoga when my oldest daughter was about 2 years old. Yoga seemed to be the new “in” thing; the latest fad; what all the cool kids were doing. I was looking for something to get my ass into shape, and an excuse for some time away from my (beautiful) child. I decided to try it.
The studio I attended was in an odd part of town. Surrounded by a trucker’s motel, a church of a certain denomination I had never heard of, and a gas station. To say the least, the area didn’t provide that “Zen-like” environment I had envisioned a yoga studio would be placed in.
I was nervous, not knowing what to expect. Wondering if I would look a fool to everyone else in the class. When I walked into the studio, there was a buzz in the air. People chatting quietly, placing their mats, getting ready for class. Some appeared to be meditating. I chose a spot near the front (I’ve always been a keener), unrolled my mat, and sat cross legged like the woman next to me was doing.
Finally the lights dimmed, the music was playing, and our practice began. I found out later we were practicing Ashtanga yoga. There was not much instruction; I dove in and mostly copied whatever the people around me were doing. I began to sweat and realized how hard I was working, and how good it felt. I practiced breathing the way the instructor told me to - deep breath in through the nose; long, exaggerated exhalation. I looked around and realized no one was looking at me (I’m not that special) - they were too busy concentrating on their own practice.
The exercise started to wind down. I felt good, but was still wondering if Yoga was for me. The instructor encouraged us to lie down on our mats, that we would be practicing our last pose, Savasana (I just learned how to spell that). I laid down and felt a little uncomfortable. Was everyone else doing this? Am I just suppose to lay here? With the sounds of chanting in my ears (coming from the stereo), I began to relax and really enjoy just laying there. I hadn’t done that since my daughter was born, maybe even longer. I suddenly realized there was something wet running into my ears - I was crying. “Why am I crying?” I thought. The tears flowed out of me. An emotional release of things I had been carrying around with me for years. Pain, fear, happiness, loneliness …
I lay on my mat and wiped my tears and my heart felt like it did when I was a little girl. And that is when I fell in love with