Coffe and I: It's Complicated


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I freaking love coffee. Like, a lot. So much so that I was once cracked out. (No joke) We're talking Triple Venti Latte and then some, daily. Fueled by caffeine until 1-2pm before I decided I ought to put some food in my body. The signal for this was usually the hardcore jitters (which I happened to enjoy at the time) and the faint feeling I might collapse if I didn't eat in the next 30 minutes.



This was seven years ago. Looking back, it's hard to imagine I ever let myself feel that way. Even though I was pretty in tune with my body back then, no comparison can be made to the intricacies of my body's every need that I now have keen awareness of.



However, this was a time in my life when I was in outside sales and traveled every day of the week. The caffeine high was a necessity for me in that it enabled my perfectly unequipped, introverted self to have excited conversations with complete strangers, every. day. Sure these strangers grew in to regular clients, STILL. Conversations, sales, relationships needed to be built and I needed a tool to help me get there.



Coffee and I grew in love, gradually, as I imagine most people do. Slow at first, here and there. A few times a week. Daily. Don't talk to me if I haven't had coffee. Two cups a day. Multiple cups a day or I'll die.



That's how it works, right?!



I had NO IDEA I was wrecking my body. I truly thought, “Man, I handle this well. Gimme more!”



WTF.



I cut back to one cup a day with my first pregnancy and through nursing. Once that was over, back on the wagon. I mean, did I ever get off?



Just before, and the years following London's arrival I'd ebb and flow between WAY TOO MUCH and the “normal” amount. It wasn't until 4 years later when the toll of over caffeinating myself took hold.



I was becoming easily out of breath, light headed and just not feeling “right”. I dealt with this for a while, blaming it on the fact that I had stopped teaching dance and wasn't moving as much as I once had. But it was clear. And I was in denial. Caffeine was the culprit, 100%.



When I became pregnant with my second son those off feelings intensified and I knew I needed to see someone. Still deep in the middle of grieving my father's sudden death (cardiac arrest), I was sure my heart was failing. Just like the hearts of all the men in my family.



Off to the cardiologist I went. Ultrasound, stress test, monitoring, you name it. Everything looked 'fine' so they wanted to send me home with a monitor to wear 24/7, for 6 weeks.



I will never forget standing in front of the mirror that day hooking myself up to the monitor. I had a panic attack. There's no way something could be seriously wrong with my heart?! I'm 30! Somehow, I managed to make it through the painful six weeks of non-stop monitoring, having to push a button every time I became light headed, dizzy or felt my heart skip a beat.



The end result? Cardioinhibitory Syncope.



In a nutshell, restricted blood vessels that are unable to get blood to the heart quick enough. Causing lightheadedness, dizziness and fainting.



My orders: eat more salt, wear compression socks.



You're kidding me, right?



Nope.



That's it.



I was floored. This is bullshit!



And being the medical rebel that I am I said, “F*ck this!” I'm not ordering any damn compression socks. And salt?! Grrrrrrrr. (I mean, it was not a bad idea for me to up my salt intake at this point BUT) After all the testing and 5 minute conversations there was no investigating on my LIFESTYLE and/or the habits/foods/drinks that could be impacting my body in this way.



Had I not been smack in the middle of serious grief I would have not gone to the doctor in the first place (did I mention I'm pro natural health? haha) but there I sat. Tortured and frustrated.



Instead of “taking orders” I decided to do what I do best, pause, and listen to my body.



The NEW orders (from myself): no caffeine, up water intake, move your freaking body.



(Sidenote: At this point in my life I had yet to complete the certifications I have now but I have ALWAYS been a huge fan of natural solutions.)



Within DAYS I felt tremendously better. After a while, the symptoms subsided. Wonder why? I had rehydrated my system AND removed threat.



I felt amazing through the entirety of my pregnancy and after Lakeland arrived I remained caffeine free. Once nursing was over I was eager to get my coffee back but was weary of caffeine. I opted for decaf and did that for a while until I realized it didn't make me feel great. I also discovered the horrid way coffee is decaffeinated. (More on that another time)



Gradually, I fell back into coffee love. Only this time more carefully. One small cup will do. And even then, sometimes it's too much. I must be very conscious of how my body responds.



Even now, I'm on a short coffee sabbatical because addiction is real folks and those familiar feelings of “not right” were creeping back in.



And and as much as I LOVE and crave my café, it's just not worth it.



Tea for now.

xo tamra.jpg

Listen To Your Body

[Cont'd from: First Day Blues]

While London was upstairs enjoying his alone time I took a moment for pause. Eyes closed, deep inhale. Exhale.

 

Geranium.

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(Yes, this is how my mind works.)

 

Whenever I have an immediate calling for something in this way I find it to be SO thrilling. I attribute this feeling to a state of connection, mind and body. When we stop and close our eyes and reconnect with our bodies, man, we will ALWAYS hear what we really need.

 

Our bodies KNOW. Helllooooo. Made to know. Created to heal itself, if we listen closely.

 

In modern society we are trained to mute or numb-out the signs, signals and warnings our body systems call out to us. We turn to medication, drugs or alcohol to put a band-aid on the alert versus digging deep to discover where the underlying issue is and work with nature to nurture and resolve the ailment in a holistic way.

 

I truly believe all the support our body could ever need is found in nature. Put here FOR A REASON, to assist our body in healing itself. Putting ITSELF back into a state of balance.

 

(P.S., For the weirdos, I'm NOT talking about when you have a freak tree-trimming accident and cut your arm off with a chainsaw. I AM talking about the ever so small signals your body sends you daily i.e., headaches, back pain, joint pain, fatigue, mood swings, etc. that you ignore or mask until a larger, often chronic issue arises.)

 

For example, yesterday when I was feeling overwhelmed after a therapy session where I uncovered a lack of self trust, back-to-school emotions on high and a disconnect with my little dude when he didn't want to talk about his day, I felt a strong urge for some deep breathing. That's it.

 

I listened and closed my eyes. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

 

As I opened my eyes geranium popped into my head. Okay, I thought, guess I need some geranium.

 

I grab the geranium, head over to the diffuser and get it rolling.

 

Anytime this happens I have a deep curiosity for WHY I had a craving for that particular oil, in that particular moment. I turn to Emotions & Essential Oils: A Modern Resource for Healing.

 

M-f-ing spot on. Every. Time.

 

Geranium = The Oil of Love & Trust

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xo tamra.jpg

First Day Blues

Yesterday was a doozy. 

 

The day started out pretty great, actually. I woke up extra early to get life ready for London's first day of first grade. Lunch, clothes, school supplies, bag packed. He's been dreading school which in turn gives me a bit of anxiety at the thought of him feeling overwhelmed about school. But, when he woke up he was in good spirits and ready to go.

 

So far, so good.

 

We arrived and quickly headed to the front door of our sweet little school, snapped a photo and off he raced in to first grade. It happen in a flash. Literally and figuratively. I longed to linger in the moments outside the school door before he ran in and a brand new chapter began. Time had another plan, I blinked and that memory was over in mere moments.

 

I kept saying, “that happened so fast, that happened so fast”. I needed that morning to last a little longer.

 

Baby brother was in tears not being able to go in to school with brother and that tugged on the heart strings even more. Followed by the fact that both Lakeland and I felt like... well, shit. What do we do now? Brother's not here. An odd feeling, indeed.

 

Off we went in search of distraction, to the park. Then home to play ball for a bit before nap. Nap arrived and off I rushed to therapy (after a whirlwind of trying to find a last minute replacement for my sitter).

 

Here's where the day took a turn.

 

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my therapist. And I love going to therapy. Healing is my jam. However, I can get a little caught up in needing things to happen NOW. Story of my life. Shit I need to deal with. Just trying to stay transparent. I want healing NOW, complete and total. Not possible at the snap of a finger, in one session, or even in months worth of sessions. Still, I want healing NOW. I want radical change NOW. Now, now, now.

 

Calm down, I know. Trust me. Precisely why meditation is necessary to my soul.

 

I get to session. Go in, flap my jaws, an hour feels like 5 minutes and I'm walking out the door. Feeling incomplete. This happens sometimes. Sometimes major breakthroughs! Sometimes, keeping head above water.

 

An incomplete session can spill in to the rest of my day if I'm not careful and that's exactly what happened yesterday. With all of the first day, first grade, emotions and years worth of unsolved inner mysteries resting at the surface I was a ticking time bomb. A very small one, still.

 

I pick up my sweet big boy from his first day and five minutes in to the ride home it's meltdown central.

 

I try SO HARD to foster openness and brave communication with my little gentlemen. Often they are wonderful at expressing feelings and sharing with me. Other times, “I don't want to talk about it, EVER!” And my heart freaking breaks.

 

When we got home he requested some alone time. “I just need to be alone by myself for a little bit.”

 

I respect that, hard. I understand that. It's also a need of mine. Alone and quiet.

 

I love that he could communicate that need to me. And as I'm writing this I'm realizing what a little piece of me I was seeing yesterday.

 

There will always be the days where we need to process on our own the events of the day before we understand our feelings enough to share.

I'm reminded...

Be mindful in honoring your need for this process. Be EXTRA mindful in honoring your little one's need for this process. As parents we can be so pushy for information. Tell me everything and tell me now! I can be this was at times, too. But our babies (no matter how young or old) are little humans and they need our respect as much as they need our love.

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While London was upstairs enjoying his alone time I took a moment for pause. Eyes closed, deep inhale. Exhale.

 

Geranium.

 

xo tamra.jpg