meet the crow

Yesterday hubby and I had two crows flying around our balcony. One kept landing for really long periods of time on our balcony ledge, really close where we (and the happy cats) could clearly see his shiny black feathers. One of them even returned today.

I always used to think of the crow as a bad omen, so to dispel that myth from my head I looked them up in our Animal Speak book and saw some info on the crow in relation to the magic of creation. I then remembered that at our last spiritual retreat, my husband had been given the crow as his “totem” animal for the next six months, and I the (related) magpie. My curiosity piqued by the appearance of one of our totems, I decided to talk to one of our spiritual advisors about the crow to see if he had any additional insight into the appearance of the mysterious and surprisingly lovely bird.

My Dear Sister,

The Crow is an awesome totem to have when preparing the path for a spirit to enter this realm (having a baby).

Meet the Crow

The Crow is about life, death and rebirth. It is also about integrity and doing unto others as we would like them to do to us.   Crow teaches us to know ourselves beyond the limitations of one-dimensional thinking and laws.  It is about bringing magic into our lives.   This animal teaches to us to appreciate the many dimensions both of reality and our selves, and to learn to trust our intuition and personal integrity.  There is magic wherever crows are.  They give us the message that there is magic alive in our life, in our world and this magic is ours to use and create a new world for ourselves.

I send you and [hubby’s name] lots of love, light and Crow energy.

Now I don’t put as much stock into the metaphysical properties of animals and natural objects as some, but obviously I am interested enough that I asked our advisor’s opinion in the first place (and to go to the type of spiritual retreat in which we pick totems for ourselves!). Mostly, I just believe we create our own symbolism and meaning for the things that happen in our lives, but that in many cases archetypal images and themes of interpretation have evolved over the centuries in a way that makes sense and imparts meaning. To me that means not necessarily that the crow has actual inherent spiritual qualities, but that I (and many others before and after me) can interpret the crow in a way that just seems to make sense. I know many people would disagree with reading meaning into a bird on a balcony, but I hope you can respect this way that I may be different from you. Thank you for doing that.

Another interesting tidbit I learned: a white crow was said to have watched over Apollo’s pregnant wife Coronis. Maybe I have a guardian?


combating destructive forces with the most ecstatic form of creation there is

One of the books I bought when hubby and I decided back at the end of February to begin this journey of conception is called Mother’s Nature, Timeless Wisdom for the Journey into Motherhood. Each page in the 200-and-something-page book highlights a different theme, with quotes, short readings, and suggestions for contemplations and activities to pursue during pregnancy. Some of the succinct and gently thought-provoking pages’ titles include, “I expect,” “I am the web,” “I am serene,” and “I hear.” These are only a few of many. Over the last several weeks I have enjoyed reading the first dozen or so pages.

One selection that caught my eye is from the page entitled, “I create.” The page includes an excerpt from a letter written during World War II on May 4, 1941 by Jessie Barnard to her unborn child. Jessie writes:

My dearest,

Eleven weeks from today you will be ready for this outside world. And what a world it is this year! It has been the most beautiful spring I have ever seen. Miss Morris (a faculty colleague) says it is because I have you to look forward to. She says she has noticed a creative look on my face in my appreciation of this spring. And she is right.

But also the world itself has been so particularly sweet, aglow with color. The forsythia were yellower and fuller than any I have ever seen. The lilacs were fragrant and feathery…Nature is outdoing herself to prepare this earth for you. But also I want to let all this beauty get into my body.

I cannot help but think of that other world. The world of Europe where babies are born to hunger, stunted growth, breasts dried up with anxiety and fatigue. That is part of the picture too. And I sometimes think that while my body in this idyllic spring creates a miracle, forces are at work which within twenty or twenty-five years may be preparing to destroy the creation of my body. My own sweet, the war takes on a terrible new significance when I think of that…

Your father  thinks parents ought to get down on their knees and beg forgiveness of children for bringing them into such a world. And there is much truth in that. But I hope you will never feel like that. I hope you will never regret the life we have created for you out of our seed.

To me the only answer a woman can make to the destructive forces of the world is creation. And the most ecstatic form of creation is the creation of new life.

I have found myself, even though I haven’t yet conceived, already noticing the world more acutely in these last several months. Grass seems greener, flowers sweeter, and the air more ripe with magical potential. The world feels alive with kinetic energy and movement, and I feel a renewed sense of childlike wonder and joy. Yet at the same time I have reflected more on the pain inherent in the world, and like Jessie I have wondered whether the world will be a dangerous or even deadly place for our future child in, say, twenty or thirty years — or even sooner.

But who knows, really? And while Jessie’s letter echoes some of the sentiments I feel are still relevant about the world today, I do not agree with all of her statements. I disagree, for example, that parents should beg forgiveness of children for bringing them into the world as it is. Begging forgiveness implies that life in this world may not be worth living, and for all the hate, pain, and suffering there is in the world, I believe there is infinitely more goodness and kindness.

I also would prefer the word “person” or phrase “man and woman” used in place of woman in this sentence: “To me the only answer a woman can make to the destructive forces of the world is creation.” Semantics aside, I like this idea, one that states that while we live in a world that can be volatile and cruel, we can focus on changing the things within our own sphere of influence — and the most miraculous thing we can create within our sphere of influence is another life, one that is taught to love, nurture, and care for others. We can fight destructive forces gently by creating a force for good. And then comes the most joyous phrase in this passage, in my opinion — that “the most ecstatic form of creation is the creation of new life.”

Ahh, yes, that’s why we’re doing this.

when i say i believe in unconditional love

My spiritual path is based on unconditional love and acceptance for myself and others. This path is just that — a path, not a destination I’ve reached, when it comes to myself or others, although I’m working on it — and I’ve realized lately that when I say I believe in unconditional love I should apply it to myself, hubby, and our journey of conception.

I’ve been hard on myself lately. I can be a perfectionist to a fault, and when it comes to baby making my mind had it made up that perfection means conceiving during the first cycle of trying. Well, the first real cycle of trying has officially come and gone, my friends. Today, on day 29, I’ve started my period.

A very wise man I know and respect once told me (and other students of his) that “unconditional love and acceptance pulls the loose ends of discord back into harmony by relaxing our self-centeredness.” I love the image this gives me of almost palpably relaxing my self centeredness, easing it out of myself — as if self centeredness were a tightly wound ball of yarn I hold tightly against my belly — a ball of yarn that winds up and holds tightly onto feelings of discontent, anger, frustration, guilt, sadness, and judgment. When I unconditionally love and accept others and myself, I feel my hand around the ball begin to loosen, and I let it drop ever so softly to the floor. I begin to walk, and the ball trails behind me, the end of the thread still in my hand, but the ball becoming smaller and smaller, looser and looser, with each step.

The bad feelings begin to go away. Because I love myself and you despite anything that may happen in a given day and regardless of outcome, I release my feelings of anger, judgment, and guilt. I accept my body and my husband’s body’s path to conception, no matter the length or route it chooses, and thus I feel the anxiety lessen. My feelings of condemnation and hurt are replaced by contentment, peace, and joy.

I say:

“Body, I love you. Husband, I love you. Future baby, I love you, no matter if you grow in my womb one day or join our family through another means. I unconditionally love and accept myself, you, and the path we take to find you.”

And the ball continues to unravel as I




toward love that knows no condition.

what a week

Like I mentioned earlier this week, work has just gotten crazy. We’ve won a lot of new business, which is obviously great for the company, but it’s almost to the point that two people can’t do the work anymore. The head of our region told my boss and I that “We should hire a third marketing person before the two of [us] die.” Yes, yes — that would be nice.

I’m also having laptop issues at home. I turn my laptop on and it shows the startup menu and then three-fourths of the time just sits and stares at me with a blank, black screen. I have to reboot to get it to even start up. Wrut wroh. Possibly not much life left on this one, Dell! I’m not a Dell fan, and in fact would much rather ditch my PC all together and get a Mac, but we use PCs at work and I like to have my Adobe programs on my computer at home too (InDesign, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, etc.)

Anywhoooo….those are my excuses. Here’s what’s really been going down this week.

Hubby and I continue to try regularly, as I have no clue when I’m going to be ovulating or did ovulate, if indeed it has happened. (Last cycle it was day 28!) We are now on day 26 and I have no clue if I’ve ovulated or not, if I am anywhere near my period or a possible positive test, or what. It’s kind of frustrating having no clue what’s going on with my body, but I’m sure my cycle will regulate itself soon enough. In the meantime, trying regularly has been enough for us. Now I’m just dying to take a pregnancy test, but I’m sure it ‘s too soon.

I’ve been having strange dreams about pregnancy. The other night I dreamed I took a test and thought it read “Pregnant” until I tilted it in the other direction and noticed the word “Not” in front of that. Oops! Then I had a dream that I was fostering eight rambunctious and wild children from the ages of 2 to probably 16. (One thing I haven’t told you yet, I don’t think, is that hubby and I will eventually want to adopt children too. But that’s more for another day.)

Obviously babies are on the brain. And then yesterday, the woman who works in our building and also cleans our place every couple weeks ran into me on the elevator and asked, “Are you pregnant?” I immediately said, “no, no,” and self consciously put my hand on my stomach, wondering if my recent lack of dedicated workouts is beginning to show.

“Do I look like it?” I said.

“Oh, no, no,” she said, and got off at her stop.

I’m wondering if perhaps she’s noticed the half dozen or so books I’ve collected on the topic while cleaning our place, but I keep them hidden behind others in my basket of books by the bed. I’d like to think instead that perhaps she has some Honduran magic going on and just knows. Now wouldn’t that be neat?

l is for languid

If I could describe our weekend in one word, it would be languid.

Friday night hubby and I celebrated our six months of marriage with the aforementioned meal of artichokes, flank steak, and mashed potatoes. It was delicious. We watched a Lifetime movie and snuggled sleepily on the couch with the cats. Ah, and I ended up picking up this treat for dessert from Whole Foods:

Chocolate Cake for Two

Saturday it was pouring rain here in Atlanta. After sleeping in much later than normal, we ran a couple errands (one of which left us in a downpour without an umbrella) and then promptly returned home to make lunch and nap for several hours. That night we had dinner with my cousin, his wife, and their two daughters. Hubby and I both enjoyed seeing them, and in his case meeting mother and one of the daughters who weren’t able to make our wedding because of an illness that weekend.

Sunday morning the rain clouds had left Atlanta behind. The blue skies and welcome, rough breeze easily convinced us to open the door to our patio, and we enjoyed the fresh air and sounds of the city street below all day. For just a little while we worked on our conception mandala. Here’s a picture of the mandala when we started today. I’ll share more once we’re a little further along.

Our Conception Mandala

After lounging the day away we made flank steak and artichoke pizza with our leftovers from Friday. (Excellent idea. Try it.)

Flank steak and artichoke pizza

Then we took a walk around one of the neighborhoods behind our condo. I pointed out single-family homes I liked and told hubby the things I’d change about their landscaping or overall aesthetics. We talked about wanting lots of bird feeders and a bird bath someday, and about how Little Imaginary Future Baby of ours will probably love looking at the birds (as will the cats.)

Ah, almost forgot the three hour nap we fit in the middle of the day (again.)

Overall, the word languid really seems to encapsulate the weekend. The last several days have felt sleepy, dreamlike. We must have needed the extra rest, but somehow I still don’t feel rested enough.

How was your weekend?

prenatal vitamins

Prenatal vitamins. What do you think about them? What do I think about them? What have we been told about them?

Some people say taking a prenatal vitamin is no big deal. Others (and this seems to be a more common opinion) say it’s essential when trying to conceive. Although hubby and I are pursuing a minimalist conception and (one day) pregnancy, we are of the belief that we want to do whatever is medically good for our future little one and in that way will not be as minimalist as some might be. In our opinion, this includes me taking a prenatal vitamin.

My doctor agrees. When I went for my yearly exam a couple months ago and told her we were about to start trying, the only real question she asked was whether I am taking a prenatal vitamin. (Yes.) What kind?

Hubby and I try to live a primarily all natural, organic lifestyle, so when I was deciding on a prenatal vitamin I was interested in finding one that was all natural. After doing a little research and reading lots of consumer reviews, I settled on this:

Rainbow Light Prenatal One

If you click here or on the image above, you can go to the Rainbow Light website and read the bottle’s label. When I told her about it, my doc hadn’t heard about the Rainbow Light brand. (Surprise, surprise coming from a mainstream doc.) Her one question was, is there folic acid in the vitamin?


She said that’s all she needed to know for now, and that when we do become pregnant I can bring the bottle in and she’ll let me know whether she recommends continuing to take it or switching to another brand. I have a feeling this brand will be okay. When I was at the house of a pregnant friend of mine recently I took a look at the label on the bottle of her prenatal vitamins and from what I could remember it looked really similar to mine.

I like this vitamin because it is all natural and is only a once a day pill. (I can’t believe some are six a day — are you kidding me?) It’s also vegan friendly. I’m not a vegan, but still cool. The vitamin doesn’t upset my stomach at all but it has if I take it on an empty stomach, so I would recommend waiting until after breakfast to take it. Also, I’ve heard some complaints about the large pill size but it’s really not hard once you get the hang of it, nor do I think it is extraordinarily large. My trick is to flick my head back quickly while relaxing my throat.

What prenatal vitamin are you or did you take, if any? Here’s hoping you found one that worked or works well for you.

melodic monday, there you are

You know when you start a new habit, and it’s not really a habit yet so you run the distinct risk of forgetting to repeat it? That’s what I almost did today on our second Melodic Monday. But then I was cooking dinner and I remembered I owe you some creative writing, and now I can’t turn away from you guys or put it off. So…I will quickly slide in here that I am much less comfortable with poetry than short stories, but feel that for now poetry is a better format here, so…forgive my lack of poetic know-how and all that. Anyway, all nerves aside…. [clears throat]

will you be? (ruminations on baby)

will you be a rhythm soft,
branches tap tapping
on glass during sleep,
or primal, heavy feet
resonating a warrior’s
thudding beat  in dusty
Earth –

will you be a battle cry
whooping bravely
over treetops during war,
or quiet and meek,
warbling an ancient’s
haunting cry across blue
Air –

will you be a flute’s dance
lilting softly up
across heavens during peace,
or booming drums
beating a waterfall’s
crashing weight into foamy
Water –

will you be a shout joyous
bellowed to the sun
atop a grassy peak,
or a serene whisper
released to the sky,
echoing bliss to the heavens’