my morning with a shaman

2 Feb

shaman

I was in the mood for something recently. By something I was thinking maybe a physic reading. I was not thinking…a session with a shaman. I’m not even sure what I was seeking at the time but I was feeling open to some guidance. The past year has been filled with so many transitions- it feels like my soul has been on a wild ride and with motherhood around the corner I don’t see the ride coming to an end anytime soon. I’ve been feeling so much energy surging through my body- negative energy that I’ve been trying to shed and positive energy that I’ve been trying to embrace. It was making me feel scattered.

I was in the process of compiling a list of physic referrals (yes, this is possible when you live in Los Angeles) when one friend instead recommended a shaman. A shaman? Now that’s one I have never been to before, I thought. My interest was immediately peaked. I asked her what she got from her session and she could only describe it as…a clearer vision. She said it was hard to put the experience into words. Even with little to go on something about it seemed…right. So I took the shaman’s contact information. It actually took me a few months to reach out to her. I think I was a bit intimidated by the word “shaman”. What little I did know about them, I’ve learned from the movies. Did you ever see the Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts movie, “While We’re Young”? There’s a hysterical scene in which they attend a ayahuasca ceremony in a shaman’s home. Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic brew from the Amazon that people drink in the hopes it will bring them personal insights through optic and auditory hallucinations. While that does sound like it could be quite an interesting experience, that is most definitely not what I am currently seeking. Can you understand my hesitation now?

In search of more information I googled…”what is a shaman”?…good ol’ wikipedia had this for me…

A shaman is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing.

Shamanism encompasses the premise that shamans are intermediaries or messengers between the human world and the spirit worlds. Shamans are said to treat ailments/illness by mending the soul. Alleviating traumas affecting the soul/spirit restores the physical body of the individual to balance and wholeness. The shaman also enters supernatural realms or dimensions to obtain solutions to problems afflicting the community. Shamans may visit other worlds/dimensions to bring guidance to misguided souls and to ameliorate illnesses of the human soul caused by foreign elements. The shaman operates primarily within the spiritual world, which in turn affects the human world. The restoration of balance results in the elimination of the ailment.

Feeling safer with this new information I decided to reach out to the shaman. I was surprised to find myself  on the phone with a woman named Samantha. Don’t lie…you were expecting some elaborate “shaman name” like Angakok or Sheripiari too, right? We had a great conversation and I loved her energy over the phone so I decided to move forward with booking a session. Before hanging up she said to keep a lookout for an email that would have notes on how to prepare for our session. A few hours later I received these…

1) What help or healing do you want in your life at this time? Tell me briefly what is most important when we meet. When we meet be prepared to share a brief spoken life review of main facts and key events – no more than 15-20 minutes.
2) Please no alcohol or recreational drugs for at least 24 hrs. before/after our session, preferably more. Prescription meds or supplements are fine, but please advise if you take meds such as anti-depressants, anti-anxiety or anti-psychotics. For balanced blood sugar, please eat before session.
3) Several nights before meeting, ask for help or healing information in your dreams re: our work together. If anything comes, make note of it and tell me. Sometimes other recent dreams may be helpful.
4) Bring a small gift to thank the spirits.

The perfectionist in me immediately focused on “bring a small gift to thank the spirits” and felt anxiety. What the hell do I bring a spirit as a gift? I have a hard enough time finding a gift for Brian for Christmas. If the spirits don’t like my gift will they send me bad mojo? What stores do spirits like to shop? Do I wrap this small gift? After days of intense thought about what to get the spirits I settled on a tiny gold elephant with its trunk in the air (a sign of prosperity). I still don’t know if it was well received by the spirits and yes I still wonder.

The morning of my session I made sure to follow directions and eat breakfast (although, at six months pregnant I’ll admit I don’t skip many meals) and packed my bag with my life review notes and my gift for the spirits. Our session was held in a yurt nestled in the Topanga Canyon mountains. For those of you who have never been to Topanga Canyon, it really is a world unto itself. You don’t even feel like you are in Los Angeles and I think the people who live there like it that way. I asked Samantha how often she makes it down the mountain and she answered, “As little as possible”. The yurt was adorned with ethnic rugs, bright artwork & a table full of crystals and feathers. It felt so magical in there- I wanted to spend an afternoon reading or writing in it. I went into the session with an open mind. I decided to be fearlessly honest about my “stuff”. Luckily, she is a very easy person to open up to. You feel zero judgment from her. Truth is she really didn’t want to get into the details. She reminded me that she’s not a therapist. The broad strokes were all she needed. After probably 1/2 an hour or so of talking she asked me to lie down on the couch. She covered me in a warm blanket, put a pillow under my head and covered my eyes with a cloth. She then led me through a meditation which was followed by chanting, rain makers, bird noises, her soft touch on my head and the feeling of her breath on my throat. This went on for at least an hour. I felt like I was shedding layers in the process- that’s the only way I can describe it. I felt lighter and lighter as our time together passed. There was an understanding that everything was and is in its perfect order. Gratitude washed over me. A calmness. A sense of peace and acceptance. A few tears ran down my face. When she chanted the baby would move so I put my hand on my belly. I think he was a fan. When it was all said and done she swept me down with an eagle feather. Almost as if she was dusting away the “bad” stuff. I didn’t ask a single question about what any of it meant or was supposed to mean. It didn’t matter. I felt light.

After the session she shared with me that my spirit animal- a wolf- showed up. A wolf! Don’t think I don’t have  tons of photographs of wolves around my house now- kidding. But I do have a new love affair with all things wolf.

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“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

6 months

1 Feb

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Monthly pregnancy update – February / six months

This pregnancy seems to be flying by at an incredible speed. When I first found out I was pregnant I wasn’t sure how I was expected to wait eight months to meet him (although, at the point I was convinced he was a she). It seemed impossibly long. But the weeks keep flying by and somehow it’s February 1st. How is that possible?! Although, I’m just starting to get to the “I’m uncomfortable all the time” stage of pregnancy so I have a sneaking suspicion time might start to slow for me. The most exciting update I have this month is that I can feel him move now! As I mentioned in a previous post I was prepared not to feel him move for a long while due to the position of my placenta. So I was shocked when I felt a kick. It was an unmistakable kick. I didn’t question if it was gas or digestion. Nope, it was very clear to me that something just kicked me from the inside. This is by far my favorite part of pregnancy. It’s such a surreal feeling. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t feel him and I live for those moments. I always stop whatever I am doing so I can be completely present for it. Brian says he always knows when I can feel him because a big smile washes over my face. I just can’t get enough of it. Feeling my son move inside me is the most magical thing I have ever experienced. With that said, I pretty much hate every other part of pregnancy. My back hurts…I can never get comfortable…sleeping at night has become impossible (the pregnancy pillow I ordered is useless. It’s massive too! It’s like wrestling an alligator in the middle of the night when I try to rearrange it)…I’m tired all the time…I miss moving my body more (doc made me tone down my workouts due to some cramping I experienced a few weeks ago)…after I eat I feel short of breath and claustrophobic…I just don’t feel like myself. Not like I expected to feel like myself while growing a human (don’t worry I’m not crazy). It’s just been a hard adjustment. I feel uncomfortable in my own body most days and I still have so many more months to go. But then I feel him kick and move and it’s all worth it. I’m already so madly in love with him.

I’m feeling…lots of movement from him. He’s most active in the morning around 7am and at night around 8:30-9:00. Luckily, he leaves me alone while I try to sleep. Maybe he knows I’m already having a hard enough time as it is. Thanks, little one. I’m personally feeling pretty calm. Which has surprised me. My anxiety is at an all time low. I’m sure as his due date nears that may change but at the moment life feels exactly as it should and I’m not stuck in my head worrying about the future or much of anything actually. The future feels bright and I feel grateful.

food loves…I’m still going strong with my love of fruit and yogurt. With the amount of yogurt I’ve been eating I wonder if I will be disgusted with it after I give birth.

daydreaming about…what he’s going to look like. Genes are such a funny thing. You really never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes kids look exactly like one parent…or sometimes they are a spitting image of uncle so in so…it’s really a crap shoot. I find myself wondering if he will have light hair like I did when I was born or jet black hair like Brian when he was born…I wonder if he will have Brian’s pretty green eyes…I wonder if he will furrow his brows like me when he thinks…I wonder if he will have finger toes like me. I just can’t wait to lay eyes on him. Oh and I also daydream about sushi a lot too.

can’t wait to…start our birth preparation classes. The more information the better in my mind. I keep reminding Brian that if he had something growing inside him that had to make an exit at some point…he’d be learning everything he could about the subject as well.

least favorite parts of pregnancy this month…not sleeping at night. My body aches as I toss and turn trying to get comfortable. I can’t wait to sleep on my stomach again.

favorite parts of pregnancy this month…feeling him move!!! The fact that my bump is no longer a burrito bump and instead an obvious baby bump. It certainly makes dressing it more fun.

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This ultrasound picture is from many weeks ago but it’s still one of my favorites. His little head was turned towards us so I got quite a clear image of his face. I fell in love with his little chin. I will admit he looks a bit like a  skeleton but a cute skeleton, right?!

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baking project – apple cake

19 Jan

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( my sous chef )

As I mentioned in a previous post I thought maybe I would try my hand at baking with all this free time I have until the babe arrives in May. I figure I taught myself to cook (although, I still wouldn’t considering myself a master chef but at least I’m not afraid of the kitchen anymore) a few years ago when I started this blog, I may as well teach myself to bake too. As a working fit model I kept my consumption of baked goods to a minimum but as a pregnant lady I’m pretty open to them! So what better time to become a baker, right? This past weekend Brian was out-of-town for a bachelor party…in Hawaii. I know, I know…I felt terribly bad for him as well. Poor, dear. So with the house to myself and nothing but grey skies on Sunday morning I decided to tackle a recipe. I had plenty of recipes to choose from via my pinterest account. I seem to have an addiction to pinning sweet treats. I settled on an apple cake recipe because it seemed easy enough for my first attempt. I turned on a movie, The Time Travelers Wife,  to keep me company.  Have you ever seen it? Not sure if it was my raging hormones but I sobbed through most  of it. Such a sweet movie about love. I devoured the book when I read it many years ago and I think they did a beautiful job translating it to the screen. Anyway, back to the apple cake…

It was a very easy recipe- I didn’t get overwhelmed and freak out once while making it (that’s the true test) and it turned out quite good! It was a nice mix of cinnamon and apple flavors and it was incredibly moist- especially tasty with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  The only problem is my crust ended up a tad burnt. Maybe I didn’t grease the pan enough? Any ideas? Because the rest of it was cooked perfectly so I’m not sure what I should have done differently?

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the bump snuck into a photo

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Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced
powdered sugar, to dust

Instructions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12 x 9-inch baking pan and set aside.
-Melt the butter in the microwave and combine with the sugar. Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Add vanilla.
-In a mixing bowl, combine together flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix until combined and smooth. The batter will be very thick, but that’s ok.
-Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking pan. Using a palette knife, spread to make an even surface and place apples in a single layer over the top. Gently press them into the batter. Spread the remaining batter over the top and carefully lever the surface. Scatter the rest of the apple slices over the batter and press them lightly into the surface.
-Bake for about 45–55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

happy list…

15 Jan

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image via 

things that have been making me happy recently…

– feeling baby boy move. After the bad news about the location of the placenta I wasn’t expecting to feel him move for quite some time and then BAM I felt him! Now I feel him move all the time (he has certain times of day he is most active). It truly is one of the most magical things I have ever experienced

– my alloted one cup of coffee. Now that I can only have the one each day I look forward to it immensely each morning. Who knew I could be so grateful for a cup of coffee

– my super snuggly pup. He’s been such a lover recently. Maybe he knows his time as an only child is limited?

– Brian got another promotion at work. That makes two in one year! I’m just so damn proud of him. He works so hard and to see him get the recognition he deserves brings me joy

– the green dream smoothie (almond milk, green apple, frozen banana, kale a parsley) from Kreation. I want one every day right now

– a prenatal yoga class held at a doulas house that totally blissed me out

– long walks on grey days

– watching episodes of “Girlfriends Guide To Divorce”. They are mindless fun and give me a laugh

– my growing baby bump. I have such an appreciation for my body these days

– a bright light filled space that makes being home more right now manageable

– a trip we are taking next weekend to Carmel by the sea for a friend’s wedding. I’m looking forward to celebrating the nuptials and being up north. It’s so pretty up there

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What’s been making you guys happy recently??

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
Dalai Lama

 

Dalai Lama

 

nursery inspiration

12 Jan

I am in full swing nursery mode over here. I love home decor and design in general so the project of working on baby Glodney’s room is an insanely fun one for me. I bet every parent enjoys building the baby’s nursery though. It makes their impending arrival feel even more real. The room we are turning into his nursery is currently our office- we will be leaving our desk behind though so baby G will have to learn how to share until we move to a larger home one day. Even though we call it our “office” the space has never felt finished and it’s purpose has always been ambiguous. I never actually work in there! Let’s just say…it has needed some loving for quite some time. As I mentioned in a previous post we spent most of our holiday break cleaning it out.

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Looks like a terribly fun holiday project, huh? We made a big dent but there is still some work to be done. I’m hoping to get the last of it cleared out before the painter comes this Saturday. I’ve settled on light grey walls for the baby’s room. If you know me then this color choice will not come as a surprise. Grey is most definitely my favorite color. It goes with everything! I love the way it looks with white and I love the way it looks with bright pops of color- both of which I plan to incorporate into his room. I also love ethnic rugs and baby animal heads. Let’s hope the animal heads don’t scare the shit out of the little guy. Here are some of my inspiration photos…

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The Animal Print Shop by Sharon Montrose

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View More: http://kristinsarna.pass.us/esti-nursery

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The Animal Print Shop by Sharon Montrose

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The Animal Print Shop by Sharon Montrose

The Animal Print Shop by Sharon Montrose

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five months

7 Jan

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Monthly pregnancy update – January / five months

Moving right along over here- five months in and feeling pretty good. Baby Glodney is getting bigger by the day! If you ask the pregnancy app on my iPhone he’s currently the size of a banana. The fruit and vegetable comparison cracks me up. At week seven I made the mistake of scrolling to the final week, week 40, to see what fruit he would be by then…my eyes widened when I saw a picture of a watermelon. It scared the shit out of me. I scrolled back to the picture of a blueberry as fast as I could. This growing a human in your stomach thing is wild. It’s so sci-fi! When I see him on the ultrasound screen I still feel like I am watching television. My brain has a hard time comprehending that the television image is happening inside me. You’d think the bump at my midsection would help it feel real. Maybe there’s still a bit of a disconnect because I can’t feel him move yet? I got the news a few weeks ago that my placenta has grown in a really unhelpful place- it’s low and anterior. The anterior part means it’s on the belly side of my uterus. So when he kicks he’s kicking the placenta instead of my stomach. I can’t feel a thing. My OB said I might not feel him move until after week 30. Major bummer… I was so looking forward to the joys of feeling him move. The placenta situation got even more annoying when I learned that it was also low and partially covering my cervix. For those of you who don’t know much about the female anatomy, the cervix is his exit out into the world once he’s fully cooked. So the fact that it’s being partially covered is clearly a problem. If the placenta does not move off the cervix as I progress then I will have to have a scheduled c-section. There’s not even another option. This news really upset me. I had an image of how our son was going to enter the world and that image did not include a c-section. I know that a healthy baby is all that really matters though so I will make peace with it if needed.

Other than my placenta situation it’s been an easy pregnancy so far. He’s been good to his mama. We’ve been working on cleaning out our office to make room for him. It was a much bigger project than I intended it to be. How can two people possibly hoard so much crap in a few short years?? I put Brian to work during the holiday break. I can safely say he’s had more  exciting and restful breaks from work. The room still looks crazy- papers and boxes everywhere but we are making progress. My goal is to have it totally cleaned out before the painter comes January 16th to paint the room.

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I’m feeling…so tired. I kept hearing that the second trimester would bring with it a surge of energy but I have yet to experience that. Maybe it’s because I’ve been sick with either a cold or food poisoning for the last month but I am totally wiped.

food loves…fruit. It’s not a worthwhile day unless there is fruit involved. I can’t seem to get enough vanilla yogurt with bananas on top. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up. I would also be happy if I could eat a chopped salad from Coral Tree Cafe for lunch everyday.

food hates…ummm there’s not much this pregnant lady won’t eat.

daydreaming about…a big family trip we might take (if we are brave enough) with the little guy in September. They say it’s easy to travel with babies when they are young so we are toying with the idea of taking him to a foreign (don’t worry we aren’t thinking third world this time) destination.

can’t wait to…paint his room.

least favorite parts of pregnancy this month…my weakened immune system and the fact that you can’t take cold meds when you are pregnant. Such a cruel joke.

favorite parts of pregnancy this month…ahhh so much. I love when Brian puts his hand on my growing belly to say hi to the babe. I feel so connected to my husband right now and it’s such a sweet time in our marriage. I also love putting my own hand on my belly and talking to him. Playing the name game with Brian has also been fun. I of course already have the perfect name picked out for our son but to be fair I’m going through the motions of looking through books and putting a larger list together so we can discuss. Compromise at it’s finest.

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around these parts…

5 Jan

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(image via)

Happy New Year lovely people!! I’m always a bit shocked when a new year arrives. Time seems to be moving at warp speed. Where did 2015 go, you know? Although, I’m ok with putting 2015 to bed…I like the sound of 2016. The number just feels good rolling off my tongue and I love the energy that a new year brings. 2015, was an intense year for me- intensely hard and intensely beautiful. I said it on my instagram account but it felt as if 2015 had two acts. Act one kicked my ass- it was filled with lessons, hard work, big questions & uncomfortable (albeit needed) personal growth. I can’t say I enjoyed that period but I know that it lead me to a better version of me, so, high-five Universe! Thanks for dragging me through the shit! I truly believe that we must go through dark periods to earn and appreciate the lighter ones, and act two of 2015 was just that…a big bright light. It was  one of the sweetest periods I can ever remember experiencing. I’m so grateful for the gifts it brought me.

This new year feels different from most for me. I’m usually all about starting the year off with big goals to accomplish in the 365 days I have. While I do still have goals this year (working on a new vision board now) my intention for this year is less about attaining things and more about enjoying things. It’s shaping up to be a year that I will have to be ok with things moving at a slower pace than I am used to. I officially stopped working last week until the babe arrives in May. I knew it was coming considering my job as a fit model is based on my measurements and they have certainly changed dramatically in the last few months. Even with the preparation, it was a hard pill for me to swallow. I really enjoy working and the idea of stopping sounded less than ideal. All my clients were great about it though. They were very supportive and reassuring that they would have me back when I was ready. So my plan is to go back a few months after he is born (granted I can get back to my measurements!). Even with their reassurance I found it hard to turn all my clients over to another fit model. I felt such a lack of control! I had to remind myself that change is inevitable and letting go was ok. There will always be new clients. On to a new adventure, right?!

So what am I going to do with myself for the next 4 1/2 months before he arrives? Your guess is as good as mine. Someone told me I could spend it getting his nursery ready. This idea made me giggle…who needs 4 1/2 months to ready a nursery? God help me if it takes that long! I’m hoping to fill my time with more writing & blogging. I’ve really neglected both for some time. I used to blog every damn day and now I’m lucky if I do once a week. I also hope to fall into a regular yoga practice. I haven’t gone to one class since finding out I was pregnant (In the beginning I was scared that I would hurt the baby but I think I am moving past my “scared of everything” phase). Ok so I definitely have blogging, writing & yoga to fill my days. My other ideas include a once a week artist date with myself, baking (because what better time to take up baking than when you are pregnant…I’m already getting bigger so why not just throw myself all in, you know?) & home projects (it’s so funny how strong the urge is to nest and ready your space before the baby arrives. Like he is going to care about the new credenza or which shade of grey I paint the walls!). Any other brilliant ideas about how I should spend the next few months?

 

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