5.5.16

I will teach you all the things,
Little soul,
That exist within mine.
I will teach you not to grimace when the sun hits your face.
But to welcome it's warmth.
Because you're alive.
And the light gives life
To all things sweet.
I will teach you to cherish
Wind in your hair,
Sand between your fingers,
And saltwater between your toes.
I will teach to you go slow.
To savor all the moments.
And to breathe deeply
In good times
And in bad.
I will teach you to inquire.
And to never hush your curiosity.
I will teach you to trust the trees
And the moon
And the tides.
I will teach you to love
In a way that moves
The mountains within.
I will teach you to feel small
With pride
As you stand beside the redwoods.
I will teach you to notice
What you notice
No matter how seemingly insignificant.
I will teach you to observe,
To appreciate silence,
But to find your place
And purpose
Within the noise.
I will teach you to find the prayer
In what most would disregard.
I will teach you to be kind,
The kind of kind that makes
A heart smile.
I will teach you to forgive,
To love first,
And to listen more
Than you respond.
I will teach you
To be teachable.
As I know surely
You will provide me
With my most cherished lessons.
I will teach you
To know God
Deeply.
I will teach you to exist
In humble gratitude.
I will teach you to
Ride the waves
Of your human experience
With the intuitive compass
Of your spiritual self.
I will teach you the raw, divine
Power of being
Woman.
I will teach you to appreciate
The tiny, yellow flower buds
Scattered atop the hood of a car.
Because, just like you,
They may be small,
But their message
Is love.

7.14.17

"You're such a girl."
These words will find voice
at school,
on TV,
at family functions,
at practice.
In the event that this occurs,
and it will,
I will remind you of a time
when you were no more than twenty pounds
and just over two feet tall,
but you led
like an unstoppable force.
Oblivious to your gender
the only thing you were,
was you.
Bestowed upon women
of all species
is the power of creation.
We have the ability to
grow, form, nurture,
and carry another soul
within our own
and roar them into earthly existence.
The only other creator of breath and body
Is God.
If we are made
in the image and likeness of God,
one must question if God
is, in fact,
woman too.
False is the tale of Adam and Eve,
I feel in my bones,
the knowing of generations long before me,
Eve was not the temptress, she was the tempted;
She was not the ending, but the beginning.
She was not a menace, she was magic.
So when someone says
that you do anything
like the woman that you are,
know deeply,
that you are doing it right.

Postpartum Happenings

 

As seen on the She THINX Blog, click here.

Postpartum bleeding is kind of like landing the job of your dreams and getting a temporary office facing the dumpster. After forty long weeks, your tiny human has arrived and you have your hands and heart full… oh, and your footlong hospital-grade pad. In addition to shedding what seems like the entirety of your uterus for the first six weeks of motherhood, the year after giving birth is a journey through and into your new body with new functions and fluctuations. From nipple tears to maxi pads, mom life is without a doubt a job meant for warriors.

 

Prior to giving birth, postpartum bleeding wasn’t on my radar. I was consumed with thoughts of labor, contractions, epidurals, birthing positions, breastfeeding, episiotomies, delayed cord clamping, and every first-time mother’s fear: pooping while pushing. I was in labor for nearly four days and wound up undergoing an emergency c-section due to my daughter’s heart rate plummeting to worrisome numbers.

 

The morning after my surgery, everything was hazy. I didn’t anticipate or even consider a c-section. I had planned and prepared for a natural childbirth, a sentiment most c-section mothers can relate to. I fully expected to be walking around, iced orange juice in hand, cracking jokes and ordering my own large cheese pizza. Every woman in my family popped out babies like it was a brisk jaunt on a Sunday afternoon, so waking up the morning after felt like walking into a final exam that I hadn’t prepared for. I can still hear the rumble and hiss of my pneumatic compression stockings (to regulate blood pressure). In addition to my numb, yellow-stained abdomen, my OB had inserted a catheter prior to surgery, so any sense of my body or its usual urges and processes was entirely lost. My first few days as a mother were spent horizontally, requiring someone to bring my daughter to me every time she cried.

 

I naively assumed that I would bleed less because I didn’t have a watermelon tear through my vagina. Alas, a uterus must still shed all of the cushy tissue it miraculously created to grow and nurture new life. I will never forget the first time I used the bathroom after my catheter was removed. As it was also the first time I had peeled myself from a reclined position, there was an instantaneous rush of blood. I could feel it travel from my swollen uterus and pool between my legs. With my arm clinging to the nurse’s shoulder, I returned to stand and peered down at the bowl of deep crimson liquid beneath me. I’m not sure why, but I was shocked. 

 

My flow was unbelievably heavy for ten days. I passed clots the size of the palm of my hand, some of which had me calling my mother for reassurance that I wasn’t going to die. Breastfeeding while bleeding was an incredible display of the intelligence of the female body. Each time Fallon would latch on, it would trigger a surge of oxytocin (also known as the happy and/or mothering hormone) causing my uterus to contract and subsequently a gush of blood would follow. The heavy bleeding was followed by what I would consider the equivalent of a normal period that lasted for two weeks. The next two weeks consisted of medium to light spotting and, thankfully, very little pain. In case you’re wondering, yes. Bleeding for six weeks straight is hella irritating; especially when caring for a helpless newborn, running off of coffee and protein bars, and healing from major abdominal surgery.

 

Bleeding aside, the transition from “me” to “mom” presents a slew of massive bodily changes and challenges that deserve recognition as we go through many of them with a maxi pad between our legs. Nothing could have prepared me for the day my milk came in. I went from a perky, perfectly round pre-pregnancy B-cup to boobs that were literally bigger than my six pound child … each. Wide, purple stretch marks tore through my skin and indicated that I would never again see my underboob-less chest. Fallon went through a nursing strike at eight weeks old, at which point I chose to pump exclusively. The initial days of breastfeeding were glorious; lots of oxytocin, skin-to-skin bonding, sweet baby smell right under my nose. It was heaven … then the nipple blisters joined the party. The good thing about nipple blisters is they comes and go in seven to ten days. The bad thing about nipple blisters is they return in the form of nipple tears when you chose to enlist the help of an electronic milk vacuum that stretches your nipples to at least two inches long … not so much oxytocin happening there. Just as I expected to roar through a natural child birth, I also anticipated that something as natural as breastfeeding would come … well, naturally. I found that just because our bodies were created to do these specific things doesn’t always mean it’s going to happen that way. This realization took me a very, very long time to accept, own as my reality, and most importantly, honor myself as a mother anyways.

 

Blood clots, nipple blisters, and counting my days in dirty diapers didn’t do much for my postpartum libido. I know, I know. Weird, right? Believe it or not, it’s hard to feel like a sensual love goddess when you’re wiping tiny butt cheeks and dodging vomit all day. Not to mention, c-section recovery underwear and panty shields definitely don’t put you on the fast track to self-confidence (THINX would have been a life and sensuality saver). I had given up on finding the time to shave my legs, my estrogen levels tanked making intercourse unbearably painful, and I was averaging four to six hours of sleep per night broken into one to two-hour increments… Remember when I said motherhood is meant for warriors?

As I wrap this up and reflect on the struggle and the strength it took to make it through the first year, my daughter falls into my arms, plants a slobbery kiss on my lips, and nuzzles her head into the crook of my neck and it all comes full circle. This is motherhood. These tiny humans make the blood, sweat, and tears worth every last drop.

 

How you do one thing is how you do everything.

As featured on Tiny Devotions Blog 108

This sentiment particularly holds true to how you speak to yourself. Our thoughts become our reality through the web of our feelings, emotions, and beliefs. It’s the same foundation for the saying “your vibe attracts your tribe.” If you’re constantly spouting hurtful comments about yourself to yourself, the rest of your life will not look much different; your confidence, relationships, career, bank account, etc.

So, how do you navigate life while not losing sight of the glorious perfection that is your spirit; who you truly are.

The answer is to stop criticizing yourself and shift the tone of your internal dialogue.

Before we dive in, I want to make it clear that when I say criticizing, I am not referring to making positive changes in your life i.e., swearing off soda, cigarettes, contact with your narcissistic ex-boyfriend, etc. I am talking about making those positive changes while speaking positively to yourself.

Pat yourself on the back, not on the back of the head.

Society teaches us that we must control ourselves in all capacities; our emotions, our bodies, our creations, our needs. We are critical of the things that we feel, the way we look, the expectations we don’t fulfill, the way our bodyfunctions, and the so-called mistakes we make. We categorize every aspect of our lives as good or bad, right or wrong. We pose, edit, and screenshot snippets of ourselves for social media to uphold an image of what we’ve been told is perfection. All the while, resisting and dismissing the inherent beauty of our imperfection; our bumps, bruises, and boldness.

We desperately need to stop criticizing your humanness and start believing in and existing in our other-worldliness.

Negative thoughts are habitual and addictive. They don’t feel good or nourish our soul, but somehow they’re easier than admitting we’re fabulous. They gain the most momentum in the morning, when we take the first post-sleep look at ourselves. You can set the stage for a day of manifestation, connection, and empowerment by simply saying, “You’re beautiful, capable, and alive.” Repeat the phrase three times while looking in the mirror. Feel anything that comes up – mistrust, disapproval, unworthiness, shame, discomfort. These originate from a state of fear and lack. They are normal and okay and a product of our human conditioning, but you’re choosing to alchemize a different reality (Can I get a Hell yeah!?!). The decision to exist in a state of yes, a state of I-am-worthy-of-greatness can begin immediately.

Instead of rolling in the muck of non-doing, pressing snooze three times, tiredness, or the pimple that decided to occupy your face the day of your big job interview, know that none of those “things” are who you are. They are just details in our stories — the ones we like to react to, dramatize and exist in, rather than feel the experience, see it with total clarity (its intentions and causes), and accept it with unconditional compassion.

Compassion comes in many different forms, but the one we tend to forget is compassion for ourselves. Practice speaking kindly to yourself – the same way you would speak to a child, offering love, encouragement, and affection. Incorporate a self-care ritual into your daily routine: exfoliate with a homemade coffee scrub in the morning, put a few pinches of maca in your morning brew, place a few drops of eucalyptus or lavender oil on your shower floor during your evening shower (I call this the lazy diffuser – works like a charm!). Compliment yourself and mean it. Tell yourself that you are gorgeous and necessary and that your light is an essential contribution to the brilliance of Universal Intelligence; our oneness and sameness with all other human beings. Say it out loud. Believe it, like you believe in the warm coffee between your hands.

The constant influx of thoughts is like a buffet. If you pass by a thought that serves you, that looks delicious and nourishing, throw that baby on your plate. When you come to the red jello with whipped topping … you know, the thoughts that poison you and the life you deserve to live, keep walking without a second glance. As with anything, the more you practice, the more efficient you become at effortlessly stepping over the heavy, toxic thoughts like a pebble in the road.

You can bask in the magic of your aliveness in every single moment.
You are worthy of unconditional love, abundance, and adoration.

Each moment and each thought has the capacity to be a tiny devotion to ourselves; our strength, beauty, and divine purpose, so that we may become the best possible version of ourselves … the person we are truly meant to be.

Sensuality is ...

Sensuality is
the glossy reflection
of merlot in
rounded glass
It is an expansion
and an undulation
in perfect
succession
Like a smile
and a heartbeat
in steady orbit
It is the crescendo
of thunder
rippling through
The rolling hills
Of an Egyptian cotton landscape
It is tips of fingers
on edges of hips
and creases of lips
Studying the valleys
of collar bones
It is the warmth
of affection
throbbing
in the space between
your abdomen
and the bottom wings
of your ribs
It is the way
your fork
rests willingly
upon your middle finger
As your lips
Close gently
Around
the first bite
Of the liquor-soaked
decadence
Of tiramisu
It is your magnetic entrance
Into any room
the quiet knowing
Of your power
Summoning breath
And gazes
Of strangers
It is the first sips
of a crimson cabernet
as it wanders from
your mouth
to your heart
to the awakened flesh
between your legs
Sensuality is not just
what goes down
between your
hip bones
because
it finds
its true origin
in the space
between your eyes.

Ask the big questions before answering the bigger one.

You’ve seen the headlines: “Marry a man that fill-in-the-blank.”

Your heart swells and you click “Read more.”… A few lines in, you start to wonder if this type of man even exists. And if you have a man, you begin second-guessing every move he’s ever made and if he can actually ride the waves of your wild, multifaceted heart. Let’s be honest: Most men can’t ride the waves of the seasonal flu let alone the unrelenting tides of female emotion.

And before we dive headfirst into the rabbit role of chasing perfection, I think we must pay homage to the truth. For many years, prior to saying “I do” myself, I held the relationship advice from those that boasted several decades of faithful monogamy in the highest regard. I thought, obviously they know the secret to a happy, successful marriage. They’ve been at it long enough, right? It often goes something like this: “Don’t go to bed angry,” “Put your relationship first,” or “Never stop dating one another.” And perhaps that’s what keeps their coffee hot in the morning, but that’s not the secret.

The secret is getting unabashedly real, really fast.

We think we know our significant other because time is the common denominator. The more time we spend with one another, the more we know of their true self, right?

You’ve seen them cry; they’ve seen you pee.

They know that you used to eat lunch in the bathroom in high school while talking to your mom on your Nokia flip phone.

You’ve lied about how many people you’ve slept with. And then told the truth.

You’ve broken the golden rule of friendship and relayed your best friend’s secret you promised not to speak of again.

You’ve laid your life baggage on the bar between two cold beers and hot wings, and neither of you asked for the check.

You’ve counseled one another in big life decisions regarding occupations, family drama, or fair-weather friends.

You met the family and shared authentic laughter over sunny side eggs and dark diner coffee.

You’ve met their friends and their approval came in the form of an adoring nickname after a night of too many brews at your local brewery.

You bravely bared your most dishonorable secrets through wine-stained lips and made love for two hours under the silky sheets of vulnerability.

You settled into a routine and maybe you even settled down in a rented downtown bungalow, bought a rescue dog and a juicer and went to 8PM power yoga on Wednesdays.

And somewhere between the recurring Monday through Sunday, an argument arises. One that pings your soul a bit, and your conscience furrows her brow. You shrug it off, hoping desperately that it was a one-time blip. A few pleasant weeks pass and similar triggers abruptly propel a familiar argument. Your intuition rolls her eyes and exclaims, “See! I knew something wasn’t right!” You roar back, “Hush! He’s just having a bad day!”

But, you see, this is where the snowball starts. A minuscule flake of ice-cold truth: This isn’t going to work.

Soon enough, you’re navigating a landscape of endless, sporadic landmines, praying that the next step, the next conversation, the next outing doesn’t result in detonation. Maybe you’re too prideful to admit you were wrong. Maybe he read all of the Fifty Shades novels just so he could touch you in ways that keep you on your toes…or on your knees. Maybe he’s kind and his heart is sweet as your Grandma’s apple pie. Maybe he could be the next face of GQ. Maybe he knows just how you take your coffee—down to the half-pump of white chocolate because it speaks to your worthiness for decadence.

But the sex, the sweetness, and the Starbucks order isn’t going to mask the foundational differences, whether they’re a product of your upbringing or the beliefs you have garnered through life experience.

So, how can we avoid the ones that make us swoon but don’t have the capacity to hold our hearts in every moment? The ones that score a seemingly impressive nine out of ten on our emotional, mental, and spiritual needs card?

The answer is: Don’t fucking settle. Even for the 9 out of 10.

Because if it’s not a “fuck yes,” it’s a no.

Being modest and taking things slow is highly overrated. Get deep. Right away. There’s no time to waste in matters of the heart.

Ask them about their religions preferences, their families, who they voted for in the 2016 election, how many kids they want or don’t want, where they want to live in five years, what money means to them, what they think of the moon and the stars, how they touch a woman in broad daylight and behind closed doors, their perceived importance of education, what they do for pleasure, if they know what the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is, their opinion on global warming, LGBTQ rights, and if they know that a kitchen is only as clean as the kitchen sink.

Ask them all the things. Even the ones that get caught in your throat. Because there is no excuse and no quality that can make up for not digging what you dig, not vibrating at your frequency.

Finding yourself at the opposite end of the candle-lit table with human beings that don’t align with what you stand for and what you won’t stand for is the ultimate challenge of truth, self-worth, and authenticity.

Will this person assist you in staying true to and, in times, assist in guiding you back to your core, your spirit, and your female divinity? If the answer is no, don’t hesitate to bid your date adieu before the main course. This move takes the kind of courage and forthrightness that creates pitter-patter in our hearts, but it’s a beaming thank you from our intuition for expediting abundance by bypassing heartbreak.

This means that you are choosing veracity over comfort, more over less, love over suffering, light over darkness, me over you, and “I don’t” over “I do.”

So do yourself a favor.

Ask the big questions before he pops the biggest one.

I hope you step into your power.

I hope you wake with the sunrise
And step into your power
Like stepping into your favorite pair of jeans
Shimmying the waistband over your hips
And fastening the button
As if you intend never to remove them
I hope you look in the mirror
And tell yourself how beautiful you are
When you embody your truth
And because you're the only you
That can walk in your purpose
I hope you strut your way
To the hole in the world
In the shape of you
And fill it
As perfectly as you fill
Your power.

Lines

I see you,

Lines.

 

Two years and one human later,

Motherhood is everywhere.

My breasts,

My eyes,

My abdomen,

I wear her,

Like the crooked, purple scar

I never wanted.

 

Lines.

 

You didn't go,

I just didn't see you.

Not the way I used to,

At least.

But I'm here now,

Tracing the landscape,

With eyes that have belittled you.

Neglected you.

Rejected you.

You are so powerful,

But I've labeled you

with shame.

 

And I'm sorry.

 

You are not shameful.

You are not ugly.

You are not meant to be perfect.

You are meant to be lived,

And loved -

As much as I love the life you created.

I'll settle in again,

But please,

Be patient with me.

It's been a long time since

Your lines

Felt like home.

6.4.17

I cherish your ability to pull me into the present moment.
Without a wisp of fear, you dive heart-first into whatever stands before you.
You do it so expertly, so effortlessly, it's no wonder my heart follows suit.
There's a misconception about raising a child.
That the parent is the ultimate teacher.
I am not your teacher, wild woman.
But, you are mine.
Somewhere between the playground and the promotions, my inner child was silenced, buried under fear, anxiety, and expectations.
I forgot how dynamic, creative, and compassionate I inherently am.
And then you joined me on this journey,
Or rather, I joined you.
Everyday, a segment of this thick barrier between adult and freedom fades.
The honest reflection of the trees in your big, blue eyes,
Your tiny hands gently cupping yellow flower petals in a way that makes me think you're thanking them for existing.
You've taught me, little love, to live, untethered and tenaciously immersed in the now.
And truly, there's no place I'd rather be than with you,
right here,
right now.

Some days, you will move mountains.

Our bodies come equipped with a very particular language, understood only by the soul housed within its walls.

Often times, we allow the heavy material spewing out of our mind to clog the channel in which we receive its messages.

We allow the static of our thoughts to blur our intuition, that which recognizes the thin line between pleasant and painful, beneficial and detrimental.

Our ego shoves our good intentions aside, reorganizes our priorities, feeds off judgement and encourages the glorification of perfection.

And then life happens.

Injuries, heartbreak, setbacks and sickness.

And the ego that promised us strength, power and success leaves us in a helpless heap on the floor.

It is then that a tiny spark of a voice appears. The channel reopens, your heart puts down its armor and welcomes you back with open arms.

It is then you will listen with your whole self.

It is then you will graciously learn your body's language and speak it fluidly and unabashedly.

Because we only get one vessel.

And, above all, we deserve to feel good.

So, move the way you want to.

Honor your temple with awareness, acceptance and grace.

Some days it will be capable of moving mountains.

Other days you'll barely manage the warmth of tea to your lips.

But on either day, listen closely.

Your body will have something to say and it needs you.

11.1.16

I made a promise to you and myself to never wish away a single second of your existence.
No matter how challenging.
But somehow the pages still seem to be turning far too quickly for my heart.
You used to fit into the crook of your dad's neck.
Now look at you.
Taking up space in so many beautiful ways.
But the most important space you continue to settle into,
Is the one that cannot be seen.

11.14.16

All of my days are full
because you are a part of them.
I wonder at times
what my life consisted of,
the beat my heart followed,
the breaths by which time passed,
before you.
And when we're apart,
the moments
are like
coffee with no cream,
The ocean with no tide,
A morning with no stretch,
An earth with no sun,
A prayer with no faith,
A book with no spine,
And a soul with no light.
And I am reminded,
I am you,
as you are me.
Where your heart goes,
mine with follow.
Whether in this world,
or the next.
And that my sweet love,
Is the sweetest love of all.

11.28.16

I will teach you authenticity,
and the magic that results from being unashamedly raw.
I will teach you to not shine only upon receipt of the approval or recognition of others.
But to stand tall where you are,
how you are,
because my God does the world need truth and honesty.
I will teach you bravery.
The kind that is too expansive to exist behind a glass screen.
A kind of forthrightness that can only be colored fully with words and action.
I will try my very hardest to teach you that,
even beyond hateful acts,
and devastation,
Love will rise.
You will rise.
Love will grow above the mess.
You will grow from the mess.
Like the roots of a tree tearing through cement.
Love will find a way.
All ways.
Always.

12.2.16

I thought I lived before,
But I was only waiting for you.
Creating life is life.
And my heart wouldn't exist if not for you.
When my eyelids are heavy,
And my head throbbing,
I ask God for patience,
Lasting, unconditional and loving.
You require so much of it,
And I never would have guessed,
We would give breath to a human
That didn't know rest.
But I would have you
No other way,
For you're you for reasons
I'll never attempt to change.

Now, I am strong.

I used to look like this.
I used to stand on my hands,
And wear bikinis that hardly passed as clothing.
I used to wake up when I pleased
And eat when I felt like it.
I used to sip my coffee slow as the sun inches peacefully from the horizon to the sky.
I used to lay on the beach for hours
Reading tattered hardcovers I found at thrift stores for three dollars and a smile.
I used to forgo undergarments because it made me feel freer than I already was.
I used to walk with my head high, shoulders back, and the corners of my lips curled towards the clouds.
I used to drink even if it wasn't five o'clock somewhere.
I used to lounge in my underwear while watching countless hours of Sex And The City reruns eating Biscoff from the jar.
I would waste far too much time exfoliating with homemade coffee scrub, removing every last hair below my neck, moisturizing, and primping.
All for a Wednesday night.
I used to carelessly toss my clothing about my room when I knew damn well I would wear something black and skimpy.
I would drive with my windows down and music loud.
I used to feel sexy as the scent of coconut oil on my bronzed skin filled the car.
I used to frequent the bar at our local Italian restaurant and drink red wine until my lips were the color of this dress.
I used to write things that I thought people gave a damn about.
I used to write things that I thought I gave a damn about.
Things that I thought were important.
But the truth is, I knew nothing of anything of importance until I met her.
Until my abdomen was cut in half and my daughter took her first breath.
Then all of the things I used to be faded like putting creamer in coffee.
I used to be sexy, bold, and confident.
Now, I am a gentle creator.
A soft healer.
A patient teacher.
An eager student.
A fierce protector.
Now, I sustain the life of a human being with my own body.
Now, I am a mother.
My most important role.
Now, I am strong.

4.3.17

A few weeks ago, when you were cutting your second tooth and battling the flu at the same time, we were having a particularly bad night. You were up every 30 minutes following bedtime, irritable and inconsolable.

I resorted to what I feel all women need when they're in pain; a warm bath. A love for water runs through your veins - it's no surprise that this is typically your cure-all.

But not that night.

I wrapped you up in a towel and you made it clear you wanted nothing to do with diapers or clothes or being put down. So we sat on your rug and I rocked you back and forth as you told me how you felt about those stupid teeth. You peed as you always do post-bath sans diaper. I snuggled you close to my chest with my cheek on yours telling you that I loved you and that everything was going to be okay. Your little heart slowed, your eyes closed, and your body relaxed. I was covered in pee and my right hip and leg went numb from the way I was sitting. And I thought, I'll do this forever if you need me to. I'll sit here rocking you as half of my body loses feeling, my back aches, my neck throbs, and my eyes burn from exhaustion if that's what will make everything right in your world.

There is nothing I wouldn't endure, nothing I wouldn't sacrifice, and nothing I wouldn't do for you, my little love. My mother used to express the same sentiment to me. I never fully understood it's magnitude until your soul took root within mine. But now it's clear every single day. My life is no longer about me. It's your time to shine, tiny wild woman, and I will forever be there to help you do just that.

Even in the middle of the night, wrapped up in a towel and tears, because as long as you're okay, I'm okay too.