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.


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’

hesitant hope with a dash of worry

Is anyone else here as impatient as I am? I try to be all zen and stuff, but hubby and I decided to make a baby one and a half months ago and I’m dying to be pregnant now, now, now. Physically, that’s almost impossible at this point as we’re just not that far into it yet and even though I know that, it doesn’t keep me from running over statistics and worrying about how long it might take us.

I’m a little grumpy because of work too. Things have been extra busy here (I do marketing for the Southeast region of a national U.S. company) and while I like to be busy, I’m feeling a little overstressed this week. With that piled on top of my nervousness and excitement about trying to conceive and it was really only a matter of time before I got on hubby’s nerves.

This morning we were sitting at our Mesa (more about that later…it’s part of our spiritual practice and basically means “altar”) and I started spouting off numbers.

“If my cycle is back to normal this month then it’s possible we could know whether or not I’ve gotten pregnant this cycle by the time we go to visit your family for Mother’s Day, because the morning we leave will be day 30. Wouldn’t that be great if we got pregnant the first month trying and could tell them in May?”

insert deep breath, and

“Really, even if we do everything right, there’s only a 25-30% chance of us conceiving in any given cycle.”

Finally hubby (gently) asked me to stop with the statistics, and my feelings were crushed. He’s a big sweetie, but his personality is a much better natural fit for the minimalism I was talking about yesterday. I’m more of an eager work in progress.

I explained to hubby that my first comment was my way of enjoying my hesitant hope, and the second was my way of reminding myself not to worry too much if it doesn’t happen right away. I also reminded him that as minimalist as I want to be, my brain does process things this way, and I need him to bounce my excitement and fear off of, even if it does take the form of numbers sometimes. Since we are keeping our journey of conception a secret I have no one else to talk to about these kinds of things.

Hubby understands. I said I’ll try to work on calming down with the mathematics and he said he’ll try to go with the flow when I let my worry translate into facts and figures. He is (like I said) a sweetie.

my steps to a minimalist, spiritual conception

  1. Cry and celebrate your decision to try to make a baby.
  2. Buy a bunch of spiritual books on conception because although you are growing increasingly minimalist, you love a good book and you and your partner want to approach conception from a conscious point of view.
  3. Get off birth control and ask a nurse/shaman you  trust what you should do in the weeks and/or months you are trying to conceive. Her answer: “Be healthy.”
  4. Start taking an all-natural prenatal vitamin.
  5. See your OBGYN, who also gives you the green light. (And begin to wonder if you should consider a midwife and/our doula, but realize you and hubby can decide that much later.)
  6. Start writing a journal with hubby to give to future baby one day, inviting the child into your lives.
  7. Together with hubby make a mandala, a spiritual art project representing baby and all your hopes and dreams for him or her. (This step is still in progress.)
  8. Stress as your homones are attempting to regulate themselves and you don’t get your period for 41 days after going off birth control.
  9. Decide you will not worry about the details and you will embrace your inner flower child and pursue a minimalist, spiritual conception.
  10. Love and make love. No charts, no mucus analyses, no temperatures.

Have any of you pursued conception in a minimalist or spiritual way, or are any of you currently pregnant and are planning on having a minimalist “baby world?” What thoughts or advice do you have on how to have that kind of pregnancy/conception — or why it wouldn’t work for you? I respect that too.

It’s interesting…I love a good novelty (marketer’s dream, anyone?), am entranced by Times Square, and adore a traditional baby shower as much as the next girl, but the more hubby and I think about it, the more we want to take a different approach for ourselves. I am excited to explore these ideas of minimalism and spirituality in the months to come as we hopefully become pregnant and begin to plan our future as a family of three. I would love to get your perspective as I begin to explore those ideas!

what is shamanism?

It’s not devil worship and it’s not evil, although being raised in a largely Judeo-Christian family I have struggled with accepting my clear interest in allowing shamanism to be my path of spirituality. This year I feel myself finally shrugging off my embarrassment of the topic as my acceptance and understanding that it isn’t something sinful blossoms. And really, I don’t believe in sin anyway.

When hubby and I were married in October of last year, we were married by three shamans who serve as our spiritual mentors. I was terrified many of our guests would have the same preconceptions about shamanism that I have struggled against (read: not a Christ-centered religion, or a religion at all for that matter.) You may be wondering too what this spirituality I am into is all about. Well here’s what it’s about for me.

Shamanism is not a religion but rather a way of being that can be practiced by people from all walks of life and from all backgrounds and religions. In the group I participate in, there are Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and agnostics…I’m sure that list could go on, but those are just the religious backgrounds I know of personally. Shamanism is not a New Age practice, either, although Barnes & Noble puts books on the topic (rather incorrectly) in that section.

In the Native American and Israeli tribes, among others, the shaman was the medicine man (or woman; in fact, check out this article on the discovery of the oldest shaman grave, a 12,000-year-old one found in Israel) and psychologist of the tribe. There would often also be a religious leader of the tribe. From my understanding, these individuals were not the same and their roles were unique.

To me, shamanism is about going within and healing yourself so you can in turn help heal others and the world. It’s about your connection to God, Great Spirit, the Universe, whatever you want to call it. The basic tenent at the core of the practice is unconditional love and acceptance for yourself and all others around you. There’s a lot more to it all, but I hope this basic insight can give you an understanding of my path to spirituality and what it is and is decidedly not.

My spirituality (along with hubby’s) is an important part of our lives and journey of conception, so I want you to understand where we’re coming from. Our love is centered around personal growth and helping others, and that feels really healthy to both of us. One day soon, I hope we’ll have a spiritually-aware family of three.

at the heart of it all

At the heart of it all, there’s my developing spiritual practice, which is rooted in the practices of Native American shamanism and I am growing more and more able to talk about every day.

At the heart of it all, there is the sweat lodge where my husband and I made the tearful decision to have a baby.

At the heart of it all, there is my writing, about which I am the most passionate and yet most undisciplined. I have wanted to be many things in life (doctor, teacher, surgeon, marine biologist, nurse) but there are two things I have always wanted to be: a mother and a writer.

At the heart of it all, there are our two cats, the children who will have always come first. Meet Chloe and Spencer.

At the heart of it all, there are the four elements — earth, air, fire, and water. This is a picture of my bouquet from our wedding in October. In the bouquet, each of those elements are represented symbolically.

At the heart of it all, there is our love.