Anything that turns on your life force reverses loneliness

Being relaxed is key to producing oxytocin, so anything and everything that helps you to relax is good to do now! Endorphins are also very helpful in birth, given that they are your body’s natural pain relief. Unlike other hormones, endorphins hang around in the body for some time, so producing a good bank of them now in early labour is only a good thing and will hopefully see you through when things become more powerful. You can get the endorphins flowing through exercise and, because your body is essentially working out in labour – the uterus muscles will be working hard – this will be happening anyway. However, light-touch massage and a TENS machine are effective in boosting your production of endorphins. Both work in a similar way by stimulating the nerves in the spine. With regard to how active you should or shouldn’t be, the feedback is mixed. I always advocate listening to your body and, of course, the time of day (or night) also influences matters. If it’s the middle of the night (as is often the case), then try and sleep if you can. It’s quite possible that things will build whilst you are resting, but you will definitely be woken when the surges become more powerful – there’s no fear of you sleeping through and missing the main event! Plant a few more varieties of tomatoes in the garden this summer. Laugh more and laugh often. Write down your thoughts and put them in a place where you can see them throughout the year. Hang them on the fridge with a magnet. Frame them and put them on your desk, put them in your wallet, or hang on a mirror in the bathroom–somewhere, anywhere that you will see them and act on them! Your year will be filled with new experiences, new friends, new ideas, and new beginnings. All over the world, the new year is thought to be a time to invite good luck into your life. In Puerto Rico, families throw pails of water out the window to rid the home of evil spirits and encourage good luck to visit. In Spain, when the clock strikes twelve, folks eat twelve grapes–one for each stroke of the clock, and to represent the twelve months to come, filled with good luck. And in Armenia, women bake bread, kneading it with wishes of good luck for the new year.

You owe it to me. And that’s all right, that’s fine. Will, however, has the chance to live a better life by putting his skills to work–skills that his friends, Chuckie explains, would do anything to have. But he’s too afraid. It would be an insult to us if you’re still here in 20 years, Chuckie says, and a waste of Will’s time. Should Will throw away his gifts because he does not want to cultivate them, or should he doggedly work to perfect his skills and master his craft, as Lambeau and Chuckie want him to do? For Kant–as for Chuckie and Lambeau–the answer is clear: a rational person, Kant explains, necessarily wills that all capacities in him be developed, because they serve him and are given to him for all sorts of possible purposes. That is, his talents can benefit others and society, and so he has a moral obligation to cultivate them. Kant’s ideas, as the contemporary philosopher Gordon Marino points out, fly in the face of the current cultural imperative, often heard during graduation season, to do what you love. To Kant, the question is not what makes you happy. The ego is easily offended. Whatever arrogance or self-importance people may project, if they are dominated by their ego, their underlying experience is one of fear–fear of losing control, fear of losing power, fear of losing approval. This fear leads to seriousness and the tendency to be easily offended. When you shift your internal reference from ego to spirit, you relinquish your need to control, cajole, withhold, seduce, and manipulate and simply allow the universe and life to unfold. This creates a natural state of ease, which predisposes you to lightheartedness and laughter. Laughter is the best medicine for body and mind. Scientific studies have shown that laughter can enliven the immune system, raise pain thresholds and ease depression. We encourage you to have the intention to lighten up and be open to the wonder and delight of living a human life. Remind yourself, remind your friends, and remind your loved ones not to allow terminal seriousness to consume the life force. Suggestions for Playfulness and Laughter

Likewise, going to sleep won’t bring things to a halt if it’s the real thing. It’s always better to go into labour and birth on the back of a good night’s sleep, rather than set off from the starter blocks in the disadvantaged position of having missed out. In fact, when it comes to pregnancy, birth and parenting, a good rule of thumb is: never miss an opportunity to sleep. Once your baby is here you will come to appreciate every moment of sleep. Sleep is so important for your well-being. Saying that, if you can’t sleep, try to at least rest. I know I’ve talked about being in a good U. You may find in early labour that you’re able to drift in and out of sleep in this position. Maybe play a guided relaxation MP3, or your positive affirmations, and allow your subconscious to absorb these positive messages as you rest in preparation. If it’s the daytime and you feel wide awake, then, again, listen to your body. Creating a tradition that invites good luck into your home can be as simple as penning a poem honoring the new year. Raise a glass with sparkling cider or champagne and say, May your new year be filled with good cheer and good luck be had throughout the year. Host a party to ring in the new year. Buy some inexpensive champagne flutes, one for everyone. Ask your guests when they arrive to write their resolutions on a champagne flute with a permanent gold marker (bought at stationery or craft stores). Have a table filled with small round ornaments, tinsel, and brightly colored ribbons. Invite them to decorate the stem of their flute with their own personal style (some folks might also decorate themselves! All night long, your guests will recognize their glass (and other guests) by their artful creations. Their resolutions will make for fun conversation and serve as a delightful and easy icebreaker. Invite your guests to take home the glass, along with memories of a fun-filled new year.

The question is how to do your duty, how to best contribute–or, as the theologian Frederick Buechner put it, your vocation lies where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. Not everyone has a calling as obvious as Will Hunting’s, of course. In the real world, the majority of people have to choose jobs that they are qualified to get, and that hopefully pay enough to support them and their families. The four most common occupations in America are retail salesperson, cashier, food preparer and server, and office clerk, low-paying and often rote jobs that don’t scream meaningful work–at least not on their face. Even those with more options often find themselves at sea when it comes time to find a fulfilling career. Amy Wrzesniewski, a professor at the Yale School of Management and a leading scholar on meaning at work, told me that she senses a great deal of anxiety among her students and clients. They think their calling is under a rock, she said, and that if they turn over enough rocks, they will find it. If they do not find their one true calling, she went on to say, they feel like something is missing from their lives and that they will never find a job that will satisfy them. And yet only about one third to one half of people whom researchers have surveyed see their work as a calling. Does that mean the rest will not find meaning and purpose in their careers? Spend time with children Go to toy stores Play with your animals Go to an improvisational theater show Watch funny movies Go to a comedy store Rent old Candid Camera episodes Watch Marx Brothers movies Go to the beach Take a ski trip

There’s no point lying down and trying to sleep if you don’t feel at all sleepy! It’s true that being upright will help get things going and speed up progress. Gravity combined with the weight of baby’s head is a powerful combination. If you’re at home, perhaps you could use a birth ball, if you have one, or stand up and lean over a counter or sink to support yourself. Or even a table. You might find it comfortable to kneel and hug the birth ball or lean over the side of the sofa. Maybe you might fancy going for a walk and getting some fresh air. Whatever feels right for you – do that. Remember, the most important thing is to be relaxed so that your body can do its amazing, miraculous thing. Early labour can be variable from woman to woman, and even from one woman’s birth to the next. I know a couple that does the same thing every New Year’s Eve. They dress up in their finest black-tie clothing. She polishes her nails, he polishes his shoes, and they meet in their dinning room at 8:30 p. They decided long ago that the noise of parties, the rush of traffic, and the hustle and bustle of the night was not for them. Instead, they turn on their favorite music, share a bottle of wine, enjoy a delicious dinner (they prepare together), and sometimes they even dance. They start off the new year connected and together. Although New Year’s is a time to look forward to the coming year, it is also a time to look back at what has happened, what mattered, and what and who is important in your life. Take a few minutes or a few hours on December 31 to reflect on the year that is passing, to pause, to give thanks, to honor a time that has come and gone, and to remember. Look at your old calendar and recall the days and events that have passed, recounting what you have accomplished, remembering the people, reflecting on the fun you’ve had, and the work you’ve accomplished. Replay the treasured sequence of events that can be so easily forgotten.

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