Lately I’ve been needing to be reminded of my own teachings. Needing someone to tell me the things I tell my students. Someone to make me hear the truth of my own words.
I preach self care. I deeply believe in the power, the necessity, the beauty of giving from a full well. And I do try to practice what I preach. Yoga, meditation, regular chiropractic care and massage. My current non-negotiable (next to coffee) is a daily shower. I arrange my day in such a way to make this happen. I can generally ensure my daughter’s contentment along with safety while I am in the shower, but occasionally she squalls. And that is the price of a sane and human-feeling mama.
I understand how to find small moments of restoration though breath. Through meditation. But I’ve realized that I’m not attending to the foundation of wellness. The Upanishads say “From food are produced all creatures which dwell on earth. Then they live by food, and in the end they return to food. For food is the oldest of all beings, and therefore called panacea.” We are what we eat. Food is medicine. My daughter’s source of food – the breast – is also her place of deepest comfort and contentment.
I don’t think I’m eating enough. I’m not one to count calories, but I’m noticing myself constantly hungry. A low level low-bloodsugar crankiness pervades too much of my day. I crash emotionally in what I recognize as a low bloodsugar crisis entirely too frequently. It is not that I’m not eating. But I’m eating the way I ate before I got pregnant. And as an exclusively breastfeeding mom, that is just not cutting it.
For health reasons, ethical reasons, financial reasons and pure preference my kitchen is one that is full of whole foods: garden veggies in the freezer, fresh veggies from the grocery, bulk grains and legumes, blocks of cheese, canned tomatoes, and so much frozen salmon. (There’s also a basket of chocolate and I go through ketchup like nobody’s business, I’m not stepping up onto a high horse here!) And frankly? It is more appealing to retreat to my studio to play with yarn and eat a few almonds, or curl up on the couch with a baby and a quart of water than it is to make the meal I know I need to eat. It is a weird place for me to be in. I have taken so much joy in cooking for so many years, and I don’t right now. It is not that I dislike it. I’m just not inspired.
It simply means I need to become intentional about it. I need to make it easy for me to eat. Dedicated deliberate work can sometimes get you farther than inspiration ever will. Inspiration cannot be forced. But it can be courted, enticed, invited. You do the work, the craft … and silently, suddenly inspiration may slip in.
And so it is 2 am, I am awake with a fussy baby wrapped on my chest and I am stirring flour into yeast and oats and water. 100 strokes. A wooden spoon in a bowl of goodness. Bread starts with a sponge. An inviting habitat for yeast to flourish before the heavy lifting of leavening whole wheat flour begins. I am making oat bread, a staple of childhood memories of deep comfort. Oats also happen to be good for milk production. It’s a hearty, healthy, delightful bread that is best hot with butter.
I am also taking this as license for daily hot cocoa with whole milk, and plenty of cream in my coffee!