Category Archives: lifestyle

Zen Day 24: Schizophrenia

Man is split. Schizophrenia is a normal condition of man–at least now. It may not have been so in the primitive world, but centuries of conditioning, civilization, culture and religion have made man a crowd–divided, split, contradictory…. But because this split is against his nature, deep down somewhere hidden the unity still survives. Because the soul of man is one, all the conditionings at the most destroy the periphery of the man. But the center remains untouched–that’s how man continues to live. But his life has become a hell. The whole effort of Zen is how to drop this schizophrenia, how to drop this split personality, how to drop the divided mind of man, how to become undivided, integrated, centered, crystallized. The way you are, you cannot say that you are. You don’t have a being. You are a marketplace–many voices. If you want to say ‘yes’, immediately the ‘no’ is there. You cannot even utter a simple word ‘yes’ with totality…. In this way happiness is not possible; unhappiness is a natural consequence of a split personality.

Osho Dang Dang Doko Dang Chapter 3

The person on this card brings a new twist to the old idea of “getting stuck between a rock and a hard place”! But we are in precisely this sort of situation when we get stuck in the indecisive and dualistic aspect of the mind. Should I let my arms go and fall head-first, or let my legs go and fall feet-first? Should I go here or there? Should I say yes or no? And whatever decision we make, we will always wonder if we should have decided the other way. The only way out of this dilemma is, unfortunately, to let go of both at once. You can’t work your way out of this one by solving it, making lists of pros and cons, or in any way working it out with your mind. Better to follow your heart, if you can find it. If you can’t find it, just jump–your heart will start beating so fast there will be no mistake about where it is!

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Well, duh.

I was just lamenting my loss of Zen in the past few days – now that the ball has really started rolling in our IVF process, I have noticed myself getting wrapped up in anticipation and excitement, boredom and anxiety – an overall feeling of just wanting it to be Friday for the implantation and then the 23rd for the test.

I know that I need to reconnect with the present moment.  To let go of the if’s, when’s, how’s, but’s, why’s (and all the rest of it) and just be content and happy in the moment.  But, this is seriously a test unlike any other that I have taken.  To learn to focus on the present when I know that I have 13 little blobs just waiting for us to make one or two of them into family members is a Sisyphean task.

So, let’s scheme.  How can I become more conscious in these days when all I am yearning for is the future?

1. Notice when my mind wanders: this is something I’ve learned from yoga.  It’s okay that your mind wanders, just take note of when it happens and what caused it to happen.

2. Take note of all of the things around me to be grateful for in this moment: regain appreciation for the present moment by being more mindful of my surroundings.  If this means I need to talk a short walk or close my eyes to meditate for a few minutes, just do that.

3. Breathe consciously: now, obviously, it’s difficult – damn near impossible, I’d say – to breathe consciously throughout an entire workday, but you can certainly return to your breath when you find yourself wandering.

4. Be self-compassionate: okay, I’m being a little coddling to myself here, but, seriously, there’s no reason to flagellate yourself for not being perfectly present.

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Recap of Day 23: incredibly bloated, heart-burny, and uncomfortable.  I’m not sure if it’s the OHSS protocol, meds, or just the natural process of this whole procedure, but my body feels totally out of whack.  When I say everything is uncomfortable, I mean EVERYTHING.  Obviously, I haven’t figured out how to relieve the discomfort (maybe I should work on that.  Genius me.)  I don’t think that the progesterone fools around with me, hormonally, to the same degree as the stims, for which I am eternally grateful.

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Six steps to simplifying and honoring yourself…or, at least, to beginning…

I believe that I’m the poster child for over-commitment.  My entire adult life has been filled with a series of projects, events, jobs, side jobs, internships, classes, you name it.  It took several years of my mother and partner repeating, “SLOW DOWN,”  until I finally listened.  And, truth be told, it wasn’t even their words that affected me; it was facing the fact that I’d have to undergo IVF.

IVF really forced me to re-evaluate how I was spending my time and energy.  And what I realized, once I gave myself the chance to think, was that I was filling up my life with so many things and people expressly so that I wouldn’t have energy to contemplate bigger things.  Like, what really drives me?  What do I enjoy?  What challenges me?

I’m not going to pretend that I have the answers to those questions, but I’m certainly not afraid to have the time to contemplate them now.  I’m even comfortable with the fact that I don’t know the answers.  That’s probably the biggest gift IVF has given me: the space to take time for myself and to honor myself.

With that in mind, there are a few basic things that are integral in cultivating the time and space to honor yourself.  You don’t need to have some thunderbolt like IVF to snap you into it, you just need to…

1. Give yourself permission: allow yourself to be nice to you!  You must be okay with giving up bits of time and energy to “pamper” yourself – which it will undoubtedly feel like at first, but which you will soon realize is not simply pampering, but energizing your soul, thereby allowing you to give and do so much more for yourself and others!

2. Reallocate funds: figure out what money is going out the door towards things that aren’t that important (partying, take-out, frivolous purchases) and dedicate it to something meaningful.  Yoga, acupuncture, organic produce, fancy supplements – whatever it is that will fill your body and soul holistically.

3. Make it routine: whatever it is that you’re implementing, make sure you do it religiously.  No excuses.  Why?  You have to make yourself top priority!

4. Be consistent: don’t make excuses not to stick to it.  Honor yourself and keep your promises!

5. Journal/blog: find some way to mark down what you are doing for yourself; when you can track the care you are taking to nurture yourself, you’ll be able to actually see and appreciate the impact that much more.

6. Evaluate: like any good project, you must evaluate its progress to determine its success.  Once you’ve been really good to yourself for a while, ask yourself some hard questions.  You may not like the answers you come up with – heck, you might not even have the answers! – but, with a clearer mind and a kinder heart towards yourself, you might find yourself being more honest.  There are a million questions you can ask yourself, but here are some I started with:

  • Am I happy?
  • Am I challenged?
  • Am I surrounding myself with people who support and challenge me, who bring out the best in me?
  • Am I making good choices about my professional life?  My personal life?
  • Am I being the best partner/friend/lover/child/parent/employee I can be?
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Zen Day 7: Letting Go

In existence there is nobody who is superior and nobody who is inferior. The blade of grass and the great star are absolutely equal…. But man wants to be higher than others, he wants to conquer nature, hence he has to fight continuously. All complexity arises out of this fight. The innocent person is one who has renounced fighting; who is no longer interested in being higher, who is no longer interested in performing, in proving that he is someone special; who has become like a rose flower or like a dewdrop on the lotus leaf; who has become part of this infinity; who has melted, merged and become one with the ocean and is just a wave; who has no idea of the “I”. The disappearance of the ”I” is innocence.

Osho The White Lotus Chapter 6

In this image of lotus leaves in the early morning, we can see in the rippling of the water that one drop has just fallen. It is a precious moment, and one that is full of poignancy. In surrendering to gravity and slipping off the leaf, the drop loses its previous identity and joins the vastness of the water below. We can imagine that it must have trembled before it fell, just on the edge between the known and the unknowable. To choose this card is a recognition that something is finished, something is completing. Whatever it is–a job, a relationship, a home you have loved, anything that might have helped you to define who you are–it is time to let go of it, allowing any sadness but not trying to hold on. Something greater is awaiting you, new dimensions are there to be discovered. You are past the point of no return now, and gravity is doing its work. Go with it–it represents liberation.

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After another sleepless night, I woke up this morning not exactly grumpy, per se, but self-pitying.  Why can’t I sleep another hour?  Why can’t I just relax without thinking about doing anything? It was quite the pity party for a few moments.  But, then I remembered that BD had made me dinner while I napped yesterday afternoon and that he let me choose the movie to watch last night and that he took out the old incontinent dog at 3 a.m.  – and I couldn’t really think of a reason to complain.

There are many things in our shared life that have changed over the past few months.  Priorities have shifted; activities, hobbies, projects, even friends have changed as we’ve gained clarity on our future together.  I can’t speak for BD, but I certainly am overcome with fear and doubts sometimes.  There are times that I miss hanging around with people who are easy and unchallenging, filling my days with so many activities that I don’t have time to breathe, and spending my time and money on having fun rather than planning and saving.  But, then I think of how much more fulfilled, peaceful, and true to my self that I feel now.  Yes, I have shed people and plans, but I have also gained new people and new plans that don’t simply fill my time, they energize and challenge me.

I suppose my point is that I do try to remember the Buddhist water metaphor daily – like Thich Nhat Hahn’s image, the wave is only temporal, it disappears into the tide and always just goes back to the sea.  So is Osho’s droplet of dew or, in reality, our lives.  We have to be okay with letting go of each moment and opening our hearts to the moments to come, whatever those moments may bring.

Who knows what is coming for BD and me.  I have no freaking clue.  I know that I am thankful for whatever it will be and I am ready to embrace it.

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I’ve noticed that I now drink an inordinate amount of tea these days; like, 12-16 cups a day if I’m home all day.  Weirdo.  I think it’s the cold weather combined with my hand-mouth fixation.  I can’t have caffeine anymore, so I’m relegated to herbal teas and my traditional Chinese medicine practitioner suggested that I start drinking lemon tea (supposed to be good for liver meridian imbalances).  I’d never been into citrus teas as I was raised with milk in my black tea (citrus and dairy just don’t sound like a winning combination, if you ask me), but I really dig the stuff.

Well, when I ran out of lemon tea the other day, I turned to my refrigerator to see what I could boil up on my own.  The result: ginger lemon tea (or hot water, depending on how picky you are in terminology).  It is light, peppy, warm, and makes for a great digestive in the evening:

Ginger Lemon Tea

  • 1 big knob of ginger, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 lemon, halved
  • agave syrup or honey to taste
  • pot of water

Put the ginger in the pot and boil; squeeze the lemon into a teapot.  Once the water is boiling, pour into the teapot and let steep for a few minutes before serving.  Add sweetener if desired.  (I personally like the tang alone!)

Tip: I leave the ginger in the pot for a day or two, to let the water really take on the ginger flavor.  mmmmm…..

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Recap of Day 6: I had my first minor heat flashes (I think) and was unusually sluggish, the latter of which I think is the result of poor sleeping.  My feet were still swollen (BD thinks that’s residual Mardi Gras-marching pain, but I disagree).  I noticed that I bruised again in Day 5’s injection site, although it wasn’t nearly as big or bad as the first bruise.  I took a melatonin at 10:00 p.m. to help me sleep; I feel asleep easily within a half-hour, but awoke around 3:00 a.m. to the dogs pestering each other.  From then on, we were all awake on and off.  BD pointed out that we both had horrid dreams – he’s begun to have stress dreams centered around being able to provide for a family and I had a dream about not wanting to rock the boat even though I knew something horrible had happened.  So, that’s to say that there is stress and it is manifesting itself; honestly, I think we are really helping the stress by laying low – no late nights or big parties or engagements.  In a weird way, I think we’re nesting, just preparing for the potential of the new person.