Author Archives: Megan

I Changed My Mind

I’ve been a rule follower, maker, and advocate for my entire life.  In my mind, rules  keep me safe and help me to navigate through this sometimes unruly world. I can remember from a very early age trying my darndest to keep track of all these commands: “Step on a crack, you break your mother’s back…Don’t look at the sun…Don’t swallow your gum…When walking with scissors, make sure they are facing down…” It’s a lot for a small girl to take in!

As I grow and learn more about the world, I am trying to edit some of these restrictions (although I will always walk with those scissors facing down! (Thanks Mom)) I recently found myself in a bit of a pickle when faced with a pretty important life decision but found comfort upon the realization that it’s always okay to update those rules or even possibly…GASP…change my mind.

In my early twenties, like many women, I was in a hideously disastrous relationship.  The red flags were everywhere but I chose to ignore them  for years hoping and praying that this caveman would eventually come around.  Well, he didn’t.  I  (finally) broke up with him and moved out and with the very generous support of my family and friends, was able to start a brand new happy life on my own.  At the time I implemented many rules for my life in hopes that they would protect me from future devastation.  Among them:

Never Ever Wever Shever Live With A Boyfriend Before Marriage.

This protective amendment was easy enough to follow for the first couple years of my newly single existence seeing that my boyfriends were certainly not marriage material.  But then it happened:  I feel in love, deeply in love.  And with a really great guy (Hi babe!).  I held my ground for two more years, paying the rent on my very own studio apartment (which I slept at perhaps two days a week).  But still, I had my own place and I thought of it as my insurance policy if this relationship regrettably turned sour.

A couple of weeks ago I received a notice from my management company declaring that indeed my lease was up for renewal; I realized then that my relationship outlook was up for renewal as well.  My boyfriend and I have both read the articles on marriage and divorce, listened to the horror stories and seen first-hand what happens when things get bad.  We’ve vowed to respect our independent lives and not allow our relationship to become a vacuum.  And it’s agreed that we are both definitely in this for the long haul (insert wedding bells here).  So why am I standing with one foot in and one foot out?  Because I am scared.  And that’s no way to live.

So I changed my mind, I’m moving in with my boyfriend and couldn’t be happier.  I plan on walking away from my rules that are rooted in fear and replacing my motivations from a more loving and trusting place. But I am left with one question:  who gets the big closet?

Some shots of my pad before I start packing up…


Where Do I Fit?

Ash and I were hanging at her place last week chatting, drinking wine and plotting for our next creative leaps. We talked about the voice of our blog and who we are trying to reach with our stories.

It’s obvious that Ashley speaks directly to the married ladies who have little ones-since she is indeed wed with children. But I wanted a title too, somewhere to file my current life status. I started brainstorming quirky titles for this precise moment of my life. I needed to find a pleasing way to coin this un-single un-married phase.

But then I stopped

I realized that I don’t need another title to define myself, I do enough of that already: daughter, sister, friend, human being, peace seeker, carbohydrate activist… The list goes on and on, and these are all wonderful ways in which I describe exactly where I am. I am comfortable here, and that fits perfectly.

My iPhone Does It Five Times a Day, Why Don’t I?

Checking for mail…Connecting….Updated.

It was about the 5th time in an hour that I was checking for emails on my iPhone. Call me compulsive, call me needy, but I love the thrill I get seeing a new email in my inbox.

For the first time though, my thoughts lingered on the Connecting… What exactly this machine is connecting to is a separate conversation entirely (the internet scares me). But I was left asking myself, how often am I connecting to my source? Whether we choose to connect with Buddha, Allah, or a giant squirrel in the sky the, the only concern is that we are connecting to something. Plugging our spirit into its source for updates is crucial.

My iPhone is now a source of spiritual inspiration? What doesn’t this thing do?

My Commitment to Committed…

I reported a couple of weeks ago on my sheer exhilaration surrounding the release of Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book, Committed. Ashley and I were even able to meet her at a book signing in Oak Brook! The now Mrs. Gilbert was as effervescent as I imagined – and effortlessly charming and witty. I clung to her every syllable as I tried to commit her words to memory. When asked by an audience member who her biggest supporter was she told us indeed that it was her mother who is an “Olympic Distance Optimist.” I loved that.

However, my experience with the book so far (I’m about half-way through) hasn’t left me with the same warm fuzzy feelings. And honestly, she did try to warn us. In her Washington Post interview from January of this year, she says: “If you want the gossip of what happened with Liz and the Brazilian, you will get it, It’s all in here. But in return you’re gonna have to read, like, a dissertation on the history of marriage in Western civilization.”

And let me tell you, that dissertation is a bit of a bummer. Marriage is not, nor has it ever been in the history of Western civilization easy-or even very pleasant. I am grateful to have this dreary data set before me (by an author that I love nonetheless!) but I do miss the uplifting qualities that I so loved in Eat, Pray, Love. I will continue to forage through the book, with an open heart. Hopefully in the end we can all live happily ever after. I hope.

Adventures in Natural Birthing

Don’t get too excited yet, neither myself (Megan) nor Ashley are pregnant.  However, I plan to be one day (of course after I marry the man of my dreams (Hi Babe!)).  Anyway, my pregnant future is imminent and being the consummate planner that I am (I am my mother’s daughter after all)  I decided to start my homework.

I have always been fascinated by pregnancy and the magic surrounding the process.  As I’ve mentioned before, my mother gave me  Dr. Christiane Northrup’s amazing book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom a couple of years ago and the book blew my mind.  Never before had I acknowledged the extraordinary power of women’s bodies nor had I equally appreciated the wisdom that we all have intrinsically.

As I’ve started gathering information and learning from other women’s stories, I really think that an at-home water birth is for me.  I love the idea of approaching birth as the most natural event a women’s body will ever encounter.  It just feels right (that’s what I’m saying for now at least!).  Bloom Yoga Studio and Inner Birth here in Chicago are two invaluable companies that offer classes, workshops, and support to women at all stages of life whether you are a information seeker or looking to warm up your three year old to the idea of becoming a big sister.  Definitely check out the birthing stories on Inner Birth’s website, they are truly breathtaking.

Well, that’s all for now, I am so excited to keep everyone updated as this journey begins!

How Much Stess Can We Take?

You know that tingly feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you’ve found yourself smack dab in the middle of some major (or minor) life/work/emotional/romantic crisis?  Your palms start to sweat, your heart rate increases, and your vision blurs a bit while the adrenalin is pumping.
The physiological definition of stress (according to Webster’s Dictionary) is quite interesting:  “…a specific response by the body to a stimulus, as fear or pain, that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism.” We know that stress is necessary in all of our lives; otherwise the runaway bus that is hurling down the street in our direction would be of no interest. We rely on stress to keep us out of trouble, but for many it’s the stress itself that is putting us in harm’s way.
About six months ago, I was experiencing constant pain throughout my shoulders, neck, and back.  Although I practice yoga and am active and healthy, I just couldn’t shake the consistent soreness.  I decided to see a chiropractor for some help.  We went through the typical new patient questions, just giving him a brief synopsis of my life.  As he was checking my pulse, he looked up at my cautiously.
“Am I making you nervous?”
I felt bad that he would think this.
“No.”  I told him.
At that moment we were talking about my job, and I was explaining the agonizing toxicity of the environment.  He then told me that my heart rate was so elevated in reaction to this conversation that as a medical professional he should admit me to the hospital.  He blatantly told me that if my heart continues to be regularly put under such duress, I will have a heart attack before I turn 30.
Where did I go wrong?  How did I end up here?   I always thrived under stress; I felt like that was really when I had the opportunity to shine. How was I so oblivious to the fact that my life consisted of endless strands of sweat-inducing, gut flipping, nail biting melodramas?  I had to ask myself:  “Is this job really worth it?” I know that many of us deal with the same basic question whether in regards to our relationships, money, family or fears.  Needless to say, my answer was no and I immediately realized the urgency for a major life overhaul.
I quit my job and started collecting the pieces of myself that were left in the wake of my stress-induced binge.    I discovered how dreadfully out of balance life had become for me.  I made a promise to reconnect with My Mind, My Body, and My Spirit and to never again lose touch of their enormous gravity.
I am beyond grateful to welcome this refreshing sense of peace back into my life.  I am ecstatic as a I start my next journey to intimately understand the peace we all seek.

Jackson Pollock’s (Very) Early Years

Remember when Mom told us to stop playing with our food?  Scratch that!

Frigid Chicago winters present us with the opportunity to really be creative when looking for ways to engage the little ones.  I spend four days a week with a sweet eight month old who is endlessly curious and abundantly energetic-she is the perfect guinea pig for my “Make Your Own Fun Winter Challenge”!

First on my list is Edible Organic Finger Paints

I went to the craft store and found a six foot long roll of white foam.  I decided this would be a better canvas than paper because we can wash off and reuse the foam sheets.  Also, since our young artist is still crawling, I knew she would have a blast if we just sat her in the center of the action on the floor.

I popped into Whole Foods and picked up some organic and colorful fruits and veggies.  Think sweet potatoes, spinach, squash, apples, string beans, or carrots.  I roasted the sweet potatoes before blending them into a puree by simply adding water.

Our little one was a little apprehensive after I poured the paint out in front of her.  She looked up at me with a mild suspicion, but once I slapped my hand into the center of the mess she happily joined in the fun.

We had a royal good time talking about the shapes, letters, and numbers we drew in the rich orange paint.  I am excited to experiment with more colors as we start to introduce even more yummy fruits and vegetables!

Send us photographs of your budding artists’ masterpiece:

Our Prayers are With You, Haiti

The people of Haiti are in our thoughts and prayers during this catastrophic time.  This wave of devastation is nothing like we have ever seen.  Our human nature yearns to help during this time.

Here are safe ways you can help too:

What Are You Going To Bring In This Year?

Christmastime has come and gone and a new year is officially upon us.  The holidays and their aftermath can bring a wide arrange of emotions for us all ranging from elation to dread. Last month, as my family and I prepared for our festivities to begin, we couldn’t help but admit that a sense of sadness had sunk in.  My stepfather passed away two summers ago, and since then things have just been different.  

My mother, with her infinite well of wisdom, came up with an idea – a way to make amends with our looming feelings and to emotionally clean house.  She instructed us to decide what we were ready to leave behind in 2009, and write that list down.  Also, we were told to compile a list of what we are going to bring into our lives in the new year.   The process was incredibly eye opening; it felt good to put those feelings down on paper.  After dinner we all read our lists aloud, which included some tears.  Sharing those raw emotions was healing, especially when in the company of those you love.  To close our ceremony, we shuffled out to the backyard and tossed the “Leaving Behind” lists into a small fire that my mom had made. As we stood in the snow, I really felt a sense of freedom and peace wash over me as I watched my own sadness, worry, and regret turn into ash.
I am grateful to start anew. I’m happy to cherish the past but keep shuffling towards the abundance, happiness, and joy that is all around us.

It’s Here!

I really could not be more excited to read Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book Committed,  Sceptic Makes Peace With Marriage.  The title strikes a personal chord with anyone – whether you are a devout and loyal romantic or cautious with your heart that’s been broken before.  There was a period of about six months that I slept with her book “Eat, Pray, Love” under my pillow. I just could not get enough of the richness of her words.  Her pain spoke to me, and when she found the peace that often comes after the pain, my world shifted.  I realized that it is our human right to have that peace, and that it is always waiting for us on the other side.

Happy reading.