Friday, March 10, 2017

In the interim

Every once in a while most of us who blog have to write a post like this one, explaining our prolonged absence :) Over the past year or so I have been incredibly busy with my job, and in December 2016 my husband and I welcomed our newborn daughter into our lives. 

As you can imagine, the past few months have been a whirlwind, but in a good way. I know that the birth of my daughter and becoming a parent will have a profound effect on the way I experience life, including my spiritual journey. Though I do not anticipate BCB becoming a 'mommy blog' (there are so many others out there able to do that so much better!) I anticipate that my journey as a new mom will most definitely temper how I approach my posts. At the very least, I know they will be shorter :)

Have you had a major life event that affected the way you approach your writing/spiritual journey/life? Please share in the comments!

*****
May all beings be happy!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Review of Mindful Birthing by Nancy Bardacke

For many women, giving birth is arguably one of the most momentous events in their lives. In an attempt to prepare, many read a variety of books on the subject of labor and childbirth. After perusing a number of different titles to read before the arrival of our daughter, "Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond" caught my eye.

Written by Nancy Bardacke, a nurse-midwife and mindfulness teacher, each chapter focuses on different aspects of childbirth and caring for (and adjusting to) a newborn baby. The thing that struck me most was the chapter about pain. Often the top-most concern of moms-to-be, Nancy thoroughly describes the physiological feedback loop created by oxytocin to generate contractions during labor. When the mother is free from fear and agitation, the feedback loop works its best, and oxytocin can do its job. However, when the mother is afraid and/or extremely stressed, the excess adrenaline produced actually interferes with the process. 

Combined with these biologically-based explanations, Nancy's focus on mindfulness was truly insightful. She emphasizes to not be affected by previous contractions or anticipate the next, but only focus on the present moment. This also includes the time between contractions, which Nancy describes as being restful~ even blissful! Moreover, this approach lowers the possibility that stress and fear will disrupt an otherwise uncomplicated labor.  

I am sure that there are many other great books out there to prepare for labor, but Mindful Birthing was the only one I read because I felt it had all I needed (after all, working -or muddling- towards mindfulness is the way I have chosen to live my life!). Writing about this incredibly personal subject, I emphasize that every woman must choose how she will handle the intensity of labor. But looking back on my own birth story (pitocin induction at 41 weeks), I marvel at the 'miracle of mindfulness' and its role in guiding me through one of the most intense but also proud and transformational personal experiences.  

Is there a mindfulness/spiritually based mindset that helped you or someone you know work through childbirth? Please contribute in the comments below!

*****
May all beings be happy! 

Monday, December 26, 2016

It's (still) always there

 . . . or should I say here? Though I may not always write, post, tweet, or talk about it, the Buddhist approach of mindfulness and the middle way is still with me. It affects my level of gratitude, how I view difficulties/obstacles, shapes my relationships, even affects the way I teach and interact with students. During the holidays we often reflect upon what we are grateful for, and, in addition to the cherished people in my life, the turn of events and struggles that led me to the Dharma is still one of them.

What are you grateful for this holiday season?

*****
May all beings be happy!