I used the head and face relaxation recording, as well as up breathing, to keep focused and stay calm, and baby was with us twenty minutes later. There was lots of skin-to-skin time with mummy and daddy, and breastfeeding within thirty minutes. So, our labour and delivery were not at all as we had imagined, but we felt informed and consulted throughout the journey, we stayed calm and collected and worked together as a couple and as a team with the hospital staff . The big day (or night) So you've got the toolkit, you've put in the hours and you're primed and ready to go! But what happens when everything kicks off for real? When should you travel to the birth centre or hospital, or make the call if having a home birth? When should you start with the up breathing? When should you stop? When should your birth partner deploy the arm stroking or light-touch massage? My father would rub his eyes, pull his legs out of bed, and put his feet on the cold floor to begin his journey downstairs to check. My mother wrapped her robe around herself, asking, I wonder if Santa came? My sisters and I were firm believers in Santa. When my father finally hollered from the living room, Okay, you can come down now, we all ran down the stairs, thrilled to see the lights twinkling on the tree (of course, years later, we learned that my father needed the few minutes to plug in the lights and finish last-minute details), and the mounds of brightly colored packages. We would each pause for a second to take in the magic of the moment. Then, utter chaos began as my sisters and I searched frantically to find our pile of gifts. Once we found them, we tore through the paper and into the boxes. Sometimes two of us reached for the same box and pulled like it was a tug-of-war game, until we saw a tag bearing one of our names. We dug through and uncovered gift after gift. We were giddy, almost to the point of intoxication, by this frantic dance.
The craftsmen, painters, workers, and models were not just hired help--what was most important to Manjari was that each person working on the project shared her vision. I wanted everyone to have a special relationship to the set we were building together. That way, each crewmember would be personally invested in the project. Many people can come together to create something bigger than themselves, Manjari said. The series is full of rich, bright colors and psychedelic imagery, and each portrait, like each deity, is utterly unique. The first portrait that Manjari completed with her crew is a radiant image of the goddess Lakshmi seated on a pink lotus flower with white bejeweled elephants behind her. Lakshmi is the goddess of material and spiritual fortune and, in the image, gold coins drop from the palm of her hand. In another portrait, Maa Saraswati, the goddess of art, music, and education, sits on a clay-colored boulder in a jungle and plays a stringed instrument with a peacock at her foot. And in yet another, Lord Hanuman, the monkey god, holds up a mountain with one hand as his tail floats in the air behind him. Hanuman was the deity that made the greatest impression on Manjari when she was young. A youthful mind is a growing mind. It is dedicated to continual expansion and learning. A youthful mind thrives on new experiences and new knowledge. Experience combined with knowledge leads to wisdom. Make a commitment to learn throughout your life. Here are just a few suggestions to keep your mind growing: Read--the classics, novels, Shakespeare, science fiction, fantasies. Try genres you do not usually choose. Read poetry--Rumi, Tagore, Hafiz, Blake, Longfellow, Frost, Ginsberg, and the modern poets Read spiritual literature--the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, the Dhammapada
Should you hold out for the pool? Who's going to make the birthing space look and smell like a spa? If you're reading this feeling like your brain is full of information and you're worried that you will forget it all once labour starts: Do. In this article, I'm going to explain what to do when, and I promise it really is all quite logical and straightforward. The good news is that if you're the mum-to-be you're doing the bulk of the work right now by growing the baby and, sure, you have to birth the baby too, but when it comes to the birth there's only one thing you need to focus on - and that's breathing. For the majority of the time, whenever you feel a surge coming on, inhale through your nose for a count of four, feeling your chest expand, then slowly exhale through your mouth for a count of eight, feeling all tension release as everything softens and relaxes. And just do that on repeat. Easy peasy! You shouldn't have to worry about doing anything else or indeed worry about anything at all! The more relaxed you are, the more comfortable everything will feel and the more efficient your surges will be - making birth quicker, easier and more straightforward, which, after all, is the aim of the game! Occasionally, the tearing of the paper was punctuated by a voice: Mom, look! A new doll! The blur of activity continued until we collapsed into our bundles of new socks and underwear, puzzles and dolls, games and chocolate candies. It was over. We were delighted! Our mother and father were exhausted, and we still hadn't had breakfast. Christmas mornings unfolded this way for many years in our childhood home. As we grew up, my sisters and I began to see and recognize my mother's great efforts and fatigue as she shopped for five girls, prepared the Christmas dinner, baked all the cookies, wrapped all the gifts, and hosted family and friends with flair. She performed all these extras during the holiday while still managing and cleaning the house, carpooling, and taking care of her family. I look back on those days and on my mother with gratitude and awe.
The story goes that Hanuman was very mischievous as a child, using his special powers of flight and transformation to sneak up on meditating sages and disturb them with pranks. One day, the sages punished him with a curse: Hanuman would forget his special gifts and powers, and would only remember them when he was truly in need of them to do good. That myth taught Manjari a valuable lesson about purpose. We are capable of something unique, each one of us, but it takes time to find out what that is, she said. There are all these layers that cover up our true potential, and it's not until the time is right that we might discover who we are truly meant to become or transform into. Just like Lord Hanuman. Manjari's journey of self-discovery took nearly a decade, and it involved lots of twists and turns. With the help of a mentor, she devoted herself to pursuing art. Then, moving to an unfamiliar place, the United States, expanded her boundaries and gave her the opportunity to gain greater clarity about who she was--which, in turn, helped her develop a series of topics to address in her art. She was, she realized, someone who has a deep connection to myth, religion, and spirituality, and her works bear this imprint of her identity. Take classes at your local college Learn a foreign language Take piano lessons Learn to dance Take art classes Learn to cook Take writing classes Join a choir Take pottery classes Learn a new computer program
This is why you need a birth partner or two to support you: so you can focus on relaxation and they can take care of the lengthy `to-do' list. If you don't yet have a birth partner in place I'd really recommend trying to get one on board. Obviously, I can't know every individual's situation and I don't wish to make assumptions, but if you haven't got a partner or family member to support you, then consider asking a friend or looking into doula schemes local to you. It is possible to get a volunteer doula, or even an NHS-employed doula, in different parts of the country. More information can be found on the Doula UK website (see Resources on article 231). No woman should have to go into birth alone and there are projects in place to support those who most need it. So, mums, there really is no need to feel overwhelmed by the tasks - you have got a single focus: breathing, the happy side effect of which is relaxation. It's near impossible to panic if you remain committed to the up-breathing technique. Birth partners, however . You are an integral part of the birthing team, charged with bringing a new human into the world and Mum is going to be relying on you. I honestly don't know how she did it. Her efforts only enhanced my belief in the magic of the season and in the power of multitasking. Looking back, I see that my mom was trying to create the perfect holiday. She, like so many women, believed that everything had to be perfect, that she had to do it from scratch, and by herself. Although this attitude often makes for a holiday to remember (by your family and friends), the gal orchestrating all of this is often left exhausted and resentful. Basically, she has no fun at all. Too often, our holiday celebrations are filled with such tremendous effort, chaos, and stress that they cease to be happy. In all the rush, we misplace the value of simply coming together with family and friends. We overspend, overindulge, and overlook the reason we have gathered. In this article, I will share some simple, meaningful, and artful approaches to embracing the true spirit of the holidays.