Fall back….into bed

Today was a day that began with many plans. We were going to try a new church. Well, really it is an old but new church. It’s the one my grandma went to and I have fond memories of sitting in service with her. We were going grocery shopping – you know, so we could eat today and tomorrow. We needed to buy gloves and water and a few other boring household things. 

Instead we did nothing. Well, not entirely nothing…. We had naps, watched a movie, and ate. Jenna actually managed to do her homework and I did some coursework for my Ayurvedic class. Jacob spent some quality time cuddling with Ella the cat. 

We needed this day of rest. Yes, there were other things that I wanted to get done, but all of us really needed a quiet day to recharge. 

Something I’m really learning to honor is that when my body or soul says it needs rest that I need to listen to that. Otherwise what seems to happen is my body rebels against me and I have to suffer the consequences- usually being down and out for much longer than a day. 

Today’s happiness moment is being able to celebrate a day of quiet with my monsters. It’s nice to just slow down and really enjoy them. 


True love 


Today my happiness moment was watching Jenna cuddle with Abu the Cat. Jenna has waited forever to have a cat she can snuggle with and carry everywhere. 

These two are great friends and a great match for each other. Abu came to Jenna at a time when she really needed someone to hug and cuddle with whenever she wanted to. I’m grateful for both Abu and Aladdin. 

Seems fitting on national cat day to have my happiness moment be about a cat!! 


Ain’t it fun…

I know we have all changed in some ways in the short time we have been home. Some of it has come through struggle and heartache. I had several moments in the last weeks of Dad’s life where I knew deep in my soul that what I was living in that moment would change me forever. Not all those changes are a bad thing either. Sure, there’s the broken feelings of missing Dad, but there was a certain strength I found during that time – and a special bonding with my mom and sister as we held each other close. That strength I will carry with me on the next part of my life journey. I got to know myself a lot better and discovered that I had a much deeper faith and love than I ever knew. 

I also see changes in the vibe of our household. The kids are happier being home – they love running across the yard to visit cousins, or to visit nana, or to visit the horses. Jenna spends hours riding her bike up and down the driveway and running up to the barn to see the cats. Jacob can play with his cousin, and gets to ride the sit down mower all over the place. 

I can see the happy house vibe in the pets. Ella the cat has gone from being a true scaredy cat – hiding at the slightest noise and not allowing anyone to hold her for long – to being the happiest, calmest, most cuddly little furball around. She purrs her way all over the place and is usually happily flopped in a sunbeam right in the middle of the house. 

Dottie actually smiles. If you didn’t know that a dog could smile then you need to see my Dotted Dog. She has gone from a contained, leashed life, to one of freedom. She runs around my yard, she runs out into the field. She runs behind the barn. She’s like Forrest Gump, she started running and she hasn’t stopped. Often when she’s running about she tears up to me and gives me a hige grin before taking off a full speed again. To me, she represents the freedom we have all found  since returning home. 

Today we had a massive thunder storm – the kind where the entire house was dark and the windows shook. After it was over, Dottie ran outside for a while. When she came  back in she was covered in mud, had the biggest happy grin on her face, and dropped a horse hoof (the trimmed part – farriers must have been here) at my feet, and danced around. Once I got over the gahhhhh so much mud to clean up moment I took in her happiness and realized that was my happiness moment for the day. It embodies everything good about being here. Freedom and fun. 


Board games 

it was a cold and rainy day here. The kind of day  that is best spent curled up on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book. I didn’t get to do that as much as my body was calling for, but I did sneak a little time studying my eyelids while Jenna watched Full House after school. Some day I hope to perfect napping like Ella the cat. 

I had some energy work done today which was very powerful and very tiring. There’s lots of old blocked garbage hanging out in my lower back and hips that I am finally ready to let go of.  My goal is to get stronger and healthier as I age and I’m making progress towards that goal. It’s not always easy nor is it fun, but the rewards are so worth it. This version of Melissa is so much stronger and peaceful and loving. 

After the Full House / snore-fest Jenna and I played Spontuneous, which is a board game that requires singing. So, a game we can only play in the privacy of our own home with no one else around. When we’d finished that game we brought our train game over to my Mom’s place and the three of us sat around and played. This was definitely my happiness moment for the day. A little bit of fun, a little bit of normal. We need that. 


Sunbeam yoga cat. 

After three months of emotional chaos I have decided it’s time to try and restore a bit of order into my life. I haven’t been following my proper routine, my exercise hasn’t been regular, and my eating habits have been horrendous. Granted, not as horrendous as before I started studying Ayurveda, but not great. It’s that sugar thing. Sugar and I have a difficult relationship. 

I can feel the lack of proper sleep and the lack of exercise and poor food choices wrecking havoc on my body. The last few days I’ve been making more of an effort to get my routine back. 

I’ve also been gentle with myself because in the last three months we have undergone huge change and I have every reason to have emotions out of whack. But I know Dad would want us all to look after ourselves. And I’m home and I’m going to celebrate every day. 

Since the weather has been nicer I’ve been going outside for walks with Dottie. But, as seems to happen at this time of year – wildlife is getting a little too close for comfort. And, I’m bear-a-noid at the best of times. I’ve decided to give the outdoor walks a little break for a while. Or until I find a walking companion who is much slower than I am! I’m still getting used to the more recent  presence of predators. I was so used to being able to walk or ride for hours and never worry about anything. Times change. I don’t. 

Today I used my elliptical and then was just going to do some gentle yoga stretches. But I realized my body needed more stretching, and that my meditation practice has been thrown out the window. So instead I did a downloaded yoga class followed by a 20 minute meditation. 

I rolled my mat out into the middle of the floor where there was a nice sunbeam and began my practice. No sooner was I on my mat and Ella raced over to lie in the sunbeam. She loves when I do yoga and insists on her belly being rubbed on every forward bend. 

I feel SO much better after my practice. Lighter in mind and body. It served as a reminder of why I do what I do and why it’s so important to me. My happiness moment for the day. My sunbeam yoga with my cat. 


An over-eating CATastrophy

Today I had to head into town to buy clothes for the kids and me to wear to Dad’s funeral. Clothes for the kids because – well – they’re kids and they grow. clothes for me because apparently all I’ve done over the past couple of weeks is stress eat and nothing fits me anymore. So, now not only am I in mourning but I’m fat as well. Excellent.

I’ve consoled myself with the thought that Dad was one of the few people who loved me exactly as I am, no matter what, and he would understand why I’ve put on the pudge. Nothing else should matter (sob… pass the cake please).

During my time of over-eating, I’ve had a strange binging buddy. My cat Ella has been stress eating right along with me. Her food consumption has almost tripled over the past couple of weeks. My cat who prefers the method of being “close but no touching” has decided that she can’t leave my side. She follows me everywhere, she reaches up with her paw and grabs my hands and brings them to her if I’m not paying her enough attention. This morning while I was on the elliptical, she jumped up on the freezer which is right beside it and pawed at me the entire time – rolling on her back for a tummy rub every time I put my hand out.

She knows something is up and she’s my constant soul companion when I’m home.

My happiness moment came today when I was having supper that had been prepared by my mother in law. We have been so well cared for by our tribe. Last night was supper at my cousin’s place. The night before that we were at the funeral home when I realized that we didn’t have anything for supper, I texted a different cousin and said “remember how you said anytime and anything we needed? we are hungry and don’t have supper”. When we came home she was standing in our kitchen heating up supper for us. We are so well loved and cared for.

I had a secondary, quieter happiness moment today that was more along the lines of yesterday’s flower walk. I didn’t get a picture of them – but today the mountains were amazing. It was one of those rare, perfect mornings where things were still and clear. The mountains looked like they were right on our doorstep. I had to stop and stand still for a while and take in their beauty. Grateful happiness. The kind of bliss that comes only from standing at home looking out on “our view”. I could feel Dad standing with me. Which was good and hard. Every day seems to get harder instead of easier. But, that moment made it easier and that made it a happiness moment.


Well, you can stick around… But I’m outta here!

My happiness moment of the day today is also the thing that consistently keeps me in balance. My walk. It’s supposed to be my daily walk but lately, for one reason or another, it hasn’t been every day. Some days I haven’t gone for a good reason and other days the reason has been too tired or too windy. Although in my defense, those Chinook winds can be brutal and my blood is still set to Virginia temperature.  

Today though was a wonderful walking day. The sun was warming my soul. The wind wasn’t bad. The mountains were beautiful. Things are slowly greening up. 

When we got back, Dottie bolted around the back of the house in hot persuit of something. I assumed it was the deer who stare in my windows at me every morning. But when I followed her, it was my parents’ cat Flower in his alter ego state of Killer   Not sure who should have been more afraid. 

This evening we were driving into town and we were talking about what superpower we would want. I wanted to be invisible so I could vanish when people annoyed me and  both kids wanted to fly so they could get away from annoying people (introverted family you think?). 

Then Jacob said you know how it is when you just get tired of being in a conversation and you want to leave but you can’t – so then your brain goes to your body “well, if you want to stay here that’s fine, but I’m outta here”.
That is the story of my life. I find myself in conversations I don’t want to be in anymore and my brain just walks out and leaves my body behind. 

I’ve been giggling about it all night. Love that kid. 


Putting down roots 

To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul. – Simone Weil 

My cousin put this quote on my Facebook wall yesterday saying it was something that reminded her of me. A lot of time over these past few years have been spent figuring out what grounds me and what to do about it. 

What grounds me? I rediscovered last summer that this grounds me 

I remember laughing about this fact years ago when I was riding all the time the only stable thing in my life is my horses. Over the years I’ve thought about that statement and refined it (I was in my early twenties at the time and if you’d told me I would be moving away from Calgary I wold have laughed hysterically)

Being home grounds me. Home in the larger word than just a house. Home where family is. Home at the ranch. Home where I look outside and see the barn. Home where I walk outside of my house and the first sound I hear is the gentle zerbert sound of a horse sneeze. Home where little Melissa ran around and played with her sister and cousins in the same yard her mom played and in the same yard her grandpa played. 

Like roots attaching into the ground I can feel myself grounding back in here. A different and more purposeful grounding than I had before when I took it for granted. 

This morning while driving home from the school drop off I had to pull over and take in the view of the mountains. It was breathtaking and I felt my soul smile as I stood outside of the car breathing in the morning air. As I stood there I thought about being grounded and being home and sticking my roots in. 

But then when I got back in the car the song Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond came on the radio and it brought me to Rhode Island summers. We had some beautiful summers there at the beach and driving to Newport and to Boston   That song is the song they play at the Red Sox games and Jacob became such a Red Sox fan there. 

I realized we had left roots everywhere we have been in some way, shape or form. 

One of the churches in Roanoke had this on their sign: bloom where you are planted and it became a mantra of sorts for me during my time there. I tried (perhaps too hard) to bloom and flourish no matter where I was. I have to say though, there are certain conditions that are absolutely better for growth than others. 

Learning about Ayurveda has taught me that a lot of my sense of being ungrounded is a Vata imbalance. I knew this, I studied this. I practiced a Vata pacifying lifestyle   And yet no matter what I did I remained unbalanced. 

Calgary physically is about the most Vata aggravating  place on the planet. It’s dry, windy, and cold, cold, cold. 

I knew that a lot of my imbalance had nothing to do with anything physical. I could live in a Vata pacifying place, eat Vata pacifying foods, and practice Vata pacifying routines and it wasn’t going to solve my problem. 

My issue was and is spiritual   And it’s being balanced in this most Vata aggravating of places. Where my roots are.  

Happiness moment: a little couch nap this afternoon with Ella the Cat being a purr machine on my chest. Part way through she rolled over, leaned down to where Dottie the Dotted Dog was lying, balled her paw into an unclawed fist and punched her a few times in the head. When Dottie looked up, Ella rolled over on her back and cuddled up to me so Dottie knew she was missing something. They pretend to hate each other but they actually have a pretty special friendship. Shhhh don’t tell anyone. 

ayurveda, cooking, happiness

Barley Kitchari

Another snow day here. Seriously, it’s March 6th. Spring can not come soon enough for me. Most of the winter was pretty mild – until the last 6 weeks when it seems like we’ve had storm after storm. Then I go on Facebook and see pictures of our friends up in Rhode Island and the Boston area and realize we don’t have it so bad. Plus I have had a lot of bonus home days with the monsters – and I love that.

It was cold and damp feeling out today – Kapha like day. And we are entering into Kapha season, so I decided to make an appropriate meal – barley kitchari. Super simple and super yummy.

You need: (for one serving, increase accordingly)

1 tsp ghee

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 heaped tsp kapha churna (you can buy this at MAPI.com, and in the next day or so I will post a recipe you can make at home)

1/4 cup pearl barley, rinsed

1/8 cup split mung beans (let soak in water for an hour prior)

1.5 cups water

optional: steamed broccoli, pumpkin seeds, raisins

Heat the ghee in saucepan over medium heat. Add the fennel and coriander seeds and saute until fragrant (3-4 minutes)

add the barley, mung beans and water and simmer for aprox 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If desired add broccoli, raisins, and pumpkin seeds.

So yummy

Kapha season is in the spring when it is wet and damp and sometimes still chilly. Unless you live in Alberta and then springtime is about an hour and a half sometime in June (but that hour and a half is awesome – I love standing out in my parents’ yard looking at the cherry blossoms – until that chinook wind blows them all off).  Kapha is comprised of Water and Earth and is cold, heavy and stable. It governs the structure and the lubrication of the body. Kapha is most aggravated by sweet, salty and sour tastes and is balanced by bitter, astringent and pungent tastes.

Kapha is what I need to be balancing right now, and since it’s the season for it – it’s kind of a double whammy reason for me to get some kapha recipes ready.

Happiness moment for day 40 (40 already!!) of my 44 days of happiness came this morning. Ms. Ella has stashed away all of her mice and we can’t play fetch anymore. She says she does not remember where they are, and has informed me that this is my problem and that I need to fix it. Jenna – bless her – sat down at the table and pulled out her sewing box. She spent a great deal of time figuring a way to stuff catnip inside a cotton ball and then sewing that inside some fabric.

Ella approved. She is content for the time being.

I am so proud of Jenna for learning how to sew and figuring things out as she goes. Goodness knows she’s not going to learn anything from me. But she is determined and loves making new creations.


A shy introvert 

I have always struggled with the double whammy of being both  shy and of being introverted. It’s only been recently that I’ve really begun to explore the differences between what it means to be shy and what it means to be an introvert. For ages I thought they were different versions of the same thing and something I needed to change about myself in order to be a settled member of society.

Now I’m realizing that the two things, for me anyway, are completely different. I’m an introvert. It’s how I’m made. I like quiet and I like to retreat into my own head and into my own space – there’s always a lot going on in there. I get overwhelmed when I’m in big crowds and things are too loud. Being an introvert is something for me to celebrate. It’s a wonderful part of myself that should be nurtured.

Being shy is attached much more to my self-esteem. Being shy means not speaking up when I should. Not participating in activities I want to because I am feeling anxious or not good enough (whereas the introverted part of me is completely happy to go home, curl up with a good book and enjoy a cup of tea in the quiet). There’s a big difference between not going out and doing things because I don’t want to (introvert) and not going out and doing things because my self-esteem holds me back (shyness)

Or to put it another way, my introverted self never has FOMO, but my shy part suffers desperately from it.

id love to hang out but

Today I was reading about the third chakra in the book  Wheels of Life. In case you cant’ tell, I’m kind of obsessed with my third chakra lately. In the past week I’ve written about it here and here. She’s talking about raising kids and teaching them how to “fit in” or “conform” to society.

Social cooperation is certainly necessary; however, if it occurs through domination, it hardly deserves the term “cooperation” at all. It is then cooperation without desire, vitality, or the spark of fire characteristic of the third chakra. It becomes submission, which dampens and cripples our sense of power and will, and damages our self-esteem.

OMG, that is me. I made a conscious decision years ago to stop fighting the fight, to stop being different, to try to just fit in and be who it was I thought others thought I should be. You know, basically the last time I felt like I was really living my own life. I listened to voices that were louder than mine. I was young and didn’t really realize the power that decision would have over my life (thank goodness I’m older and wiser now and I can reverse such things). But, that was it – I gave up my personal power and became submissive to the needs and wants of others.

I struggle with this with the kids. I want them to let their lights shine, to be the best “thems” they can be. But there are certain rules in society we must follow aren’t there? Just the other day I snapped at Jacob and when he snapped back at me I pulled the “you can’t talk to me like that, I’m your mother – show some respect.” He came back with “I just talked to you like you talked to me”. Ugh. Totally called me on that one. Worst of all, he only spoke to me like that to show me how it felt. Point taken. I want them to become who they are not who they’ve been forced into being. I want the same thing for myself.

So, I will continue to honour my introvert, and continue to encourage the shy part of my being. Engage that powerhouse and see what kind of light shines out of it.

Happiness moment on day 37 of the 44 days of happiness came this morning. I went for a very chilly walk. When we lived in Rhode Island I was often so cold in the winter that the only way I could warm up was in a hot shower – the chill went right to the bone. This morning after our walk I felt the same way – just couldn’t get warm <As an aside, I thought I was moving to the South and that things would be warm here>. I went and had a shower. Part of being a mom seems to be being available and accessible to the kids when they need me – and nothing makes them need me like being in the shower. But, this morning no one was home. So, I stood in the steaming hot shower until all the hot water was gone. I can’t remember when I have last done that. Didn’t have to worry about anyone else needing water – no one else was there. The cat did get a little bent out of shape that I was so obviously enjoying something that she couldn’t come sit on or walk over. But even her angry face at the shower door didn’t take away from the bliss of showering until all the hot water was gone.

Angry Ella face waiting for supper