Sunday, March 27, 2011


A few days ago I was saying a prayer on my dinner, and a word I don't usually use came into my mind. Sustain. I asked God that the food would sustain me, even as I was wondering about this word. I thought about the definition as I ate. Of course, I know it means to support, but I wondered about other possible nuances of meaning and so I looked it up. Here is what I found on

  1. to support, hold, or bear up from below; bear the weight of, as a structure.
  2. to bear (a burden, charge, etc.).
  3. to undergo, experience, or suffer (injury, loss, etc.); endure without giving way or yielding.
  4. to keep (a person, the mind, the spirits, etc.) from giving way, as under trial or affliction.
  5. to keep up or keep going, as an action or process: to sustain a conversation.
  6. to supply with food, drink, and other necessities of life.
  7. to provide for (an institution or the like) by furnishing means or funds.
  8. to support (a cause or the like) by aid or approval.
  9. to uphold as valid, just, or correct, as a claim or the person making it: The judge sustained the lawyer's objection.
  10. to confirm or corroborate, as a statement: Further investigation sustained my suspicions.

I have been writing a chapter for the book called The Society For Relief, and I keep thinking about all the ways the Relief Society sisters sustain each other and these 10 definitions are all wonderful examples.

I am sustained so much by sisterhood. The sustaining doesn't always come from my local relief society--sometimes it is other sisters in other wards or in other states that sustain me. It's amazing when I think of it. In this world of so many ways to connect--most people are less connected than ever, but because we are part of a global society of sisters, we can use all this connectivity to further support each other. For example, I have such a wonderful group of women who have been collaborating with me on this book, and some of us have never met in person. But because of the Internet, Skype, Google groups, Google Docs, blogs, etc, we feel very close.

Today in sacrament meeting I was praying for a friend of mine who has to make some hard decisions. As I was pouring out my heart for her--it was the strangest thing--I could feel that women I know and love very much were praying for me.

I think of all the times we raise our hands to "sustain" people in their callings. We never raise our hands to sustain a couple has newly accepted the calling to be a mother or father, but I think that there is an unspoken hand raising, and I think this is the most important calling in which our members need sustaining.

I'm grateful for all the people, prayers, angels, ancestors, food, health, air, love, and who knows what else that sustain me.

Who/what sustains you?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom

I can't believe it has been another year. I remember writing a blog post on her birthday last year--which feels like only 6 months ago, tops. Sigh. It's hard to imagine what she'd be like at 63. She is kind of always stuck in my mind at 41 or younger. Sometimes she is 17 and posing for her senior prom, rather awkwardly with her very tall date.

In honor of her birthday I had some women over for a mini yoga/meditation/guided imagery night. It was my gift to her to give away some of my talents to the community. We did a meditation for celestial communication and at one point I felt like since I was in celestial communication I should petition God for some things. But then I felt overwhelmingly how much He has already blessed me with. It has truly been a flood in the last year.

This year I came to understand how mother's being in heaven has been the exact kind of relationship I've needed to have with her. Her absent presence has actually guided my journey in many ways, such as founding Memoirs Ink, and being open to all things metaphysical, such a hypnotherapy and ancestors moving things in my house to get my attention. I'm totally into all that stuff. And since I accept that kind of communication, I get it all the time. It's great to be loved from both sides of the veil and know it.

But I can't write about my mom's birthday without acknowledging my grandmother, whose passion and will I have inherited. I'm so grateful to both of them and their wonderful partners for giving me life. And I realize that every birth is really a day of celebration for a thousand ancestors and future generations. How wonderful.


Monday, March 14, 2011

What Do You Do When You Want Another Baby?

What do you do when you want another baby and it's just not happening?

As far as I can tell from all the stories I have received from you, this is what you do:

Try not to think about it.
Have more sex.
Go on a vacation.
Give up.
Take Fertility Enhancers.
Go to the temple.
Cry some more.

Fertility journeys are heart wrenching. Especially when you know how much love you have to give. I think of Mandi's story and how she watered her pillow at night.

Everyone's fertility journey is different. Mine has nothing to do with my eggs. My problem is that I need some good DNA, which I only have half of.

By the way, this is Felice's ovaries talking right now. She would kill me if she knew I was saying all this, because she's so zen now and all-trusting in God's timetable. She would like to find a complementary partner, not just a sperm donor. Someone who is a full glass of water like her--who doesn't need to be filled by someone else. And while I find that admirable--I just want good DNA. Of course, I care about her happiness and stability, but what was wrong with the last man?

So, once a month I throw a fit and make her cry at least a few tears, just so she knows I'm here. Sigh. If anyone wants to set her up with a good man with good DNA, please do, but keep my name out of it. By the way, she's a Libra, and she likes long walks on the beach.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I Am

As some of you may or may not know, I teach a writing class that I call The Writer's Mind. It's a cool fusion of writing workshop and group hypnotherapy/therapeutic imagery journey. I help writers not only become better writers but also have more confidence, motivation and joy in the process of creation. It was surprising to me how many of them had been writing for years but still had fear and hesitation about calling themselves writers. Some are published, and even have the job title of writer. Last week, I was talking about this at a career seminar where I was asked to speak, and another woman on the panel said something very profound. She said, "the words I am are the two most powerful words in the universe. So be careful what you put after them."

And I realized that she was right. Those words are very powerful. In fact, I AM is one of the names God calls himself in the Bible. When you say I am ___ -- anything you fill in the blank goes right into your subconscious mind and you begin to believe and achieve it--good or bad. So I cautioned my writers to think about what they really are, and separate it from things they feel or things they do. For example. Begin to say, "I feel afraid," rather than "I am afraid." Or "I made a stupid decision," rather than "I am stupid."

That last one is something I stress over and over with my daughter--that she is always a good girl. Her behavior is not always good, but she is always a good girl. When we see people making bad choices, we may talk about their behavior as bad, but always remember that every one is good in their inner most self. Their spiritual nature is perfect, even thought their thoughts and behavior may not be.

This was a big realization for everyone in my writing class. There were lots of "ahas" and "oh mys." And so, to end our final class we did a version of an "I AM" mediation, the words of which were:

I am the light of the soul,
I am beautiful,
I am bountiful,
I am bliss.
I am.
I am.

It's a beautiful mediation, which Bibi Bhani Kaur put to music that you can listen to here.

After class, no one wanted to go yet, so we all decided to take portraits of ourselves for JR's global art project INSIDE OUT. If you haven't heard about it yet, you can watch this link. It's amazing and inspiring. So, to symbolize what we were most passionate about, we all wrote I am on our faces with black eyeliner and then took pictures which will soon grace the streets of Los Angeles as art. (Watch JR's speech)

And I was thinking how cool it would be to see portraits of readers with I am written on your face or belly. I don't get to see many pictures of readers unless you are a fan on facebook. It would be cool to post pictures of divine mothers from all over the world. So if you feel like getting handy with or creative with I am in some other way, I invite you to send me a picture or post them on our Facebook Page wall. Let me see who you are.

Monday, March 7, 2011

An Open Letter to the Nurse at Cedars Sinai Who Called Me a Failure

You couldn't have known how I had spent 6 months clearing that word out of my skin, my organs, my blood stream. Many women never fully recover from abuse, but I had made a good start. You could not have known how my watery appearance in your hallway was the culmination of many successes: a night and a day of natural labor, in and out of the birth tub, up and down the stairs, pacing in the shady parts of the street, and finally, I had reached that dreamy trancey state. Transition was easier for me than early labor. I felt awareness and sensation in my body, but absolute comfort as I drifted and floated in the ocean of my mind.

When the midwife told me I had three strikes, that my baby would need to be born at the hospital, I was calm. I have spent enough time with lambs to tell you that I went like a lamb. Innocent. I trusted her perfectly. I trusted God and the blessing I had received that morning that specifically mentioned my midwife's judgment. And I trusted my baby. Trust itself is a miracle.

It was this trust in my caregivers that allowed me to divert all my resources to the soul coming through me. I held onto the car handles, half-robed, and stared dreamily out the window at La Cienega Boulevard and Los Angeles blue skies, while everyone else worried about getting there in time. I was only half aware of their concern. I knew she wasn't going to come in the car. I knew her heart rate would remain steady.

You couldn't have known that because I was using all my resources to transition a soul from inside out, I had none left to protect myself. I had no shield to deflect your thoughtless words. And so they dropped like a clumsy rock into a still lake: no shore was left untouched by the ripples. If I had been hooked up to a biofeedback machine, I'm sure you would have seen gauges and needles spike or plummet. Even Dr. Chin commented on my apathetic pushing. "I'm going to give you one more chance. I know you can do better," he said.

You are lucky that Davi didn't hear you. My midwife, whose name means Goddess, who wears a turban and meditates 3 hours every day, probably would have punched you.

I'm sure it was nothing personal. You were probably just using the language someone trained you to use. And your tone of voice was probably just your tired feet talking. It was, in fact, almost 3 o'clock and time for a shift change.

My angel baby was born about 20 minutes after we arrived. No one bothered to look at the clock, so we guessed it was 3:19 p.m. She was a little blue form the cord around her neck, and cone shaped from the vacuum--which Dr. Chin did end up using--but perfectly healthy and normal in every way.

I immediately forgot about you as I latched her onto my breast. Skin to skin, everyone else disappeared.

And yet. For years afterward I found myself having imaginary conversations with you. "I'm not a failed home birth, I'm a successful home birth transfer. Aren't all people who come to the hospital transferring from home at some point or another? Did I not have a natural, vaginal, peaceful birth?" This was useless.

I didn't write my birth story for years--I think because on some level, I did feel I had failed, and your words gave voice to those fears. I am not one to face things, so I continued arguing with you.

It wasn't until Phoebe was 3 years old, during a re-birthing meditation, that I got divine clarity about her birth. I now understand that I did everything exactly as I was inspired, my baby was born exactly how she needed to be born, and I had the exact experiences I needed to have. Not accepting this was my real failure.

And so I want to thank you, dear nurse, for being at the right place and the right time on your tired feet to teach me a lesson about forgiveness and success.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"Drink Some Tea and Eat Some Food"

tea time, originally uploaded by leuwam.

I sat down earlier to try to write a post about how much I love being a mother, but I had to abandon it because I was so grouchy today. I put Phoebe to bed and told her I was sorry for being out of sorts all day. I said "I didn't know why, but I'd try to figure it out and be better tomorrow."

She forgave me, and then proceeded to tell me what I needed to do to feel better. "You need to drink some tea and eat some food," she said. She's right. I have serious blood sugar issues, and a protein snack generally solves an unexplained mood swing. Tea is another calming anchor for me. It's funny how well our kids know us.



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