What does Meditation, Joyce, Eating, Social Defeat, Ibuprofen, Infertility, and Lesbians all have in common?

They are all pieces of writing that I have yet to post. They sit partially on my computer and partially in my head. Most of them have been sparked over the past few months but I have not been able to devote time to them. Actually, I had to set my writing aside for a bit so I could focus on other work that I am doing. But as April rolls in, I am excited for this term to near completion and for my spring and summer to start! 

For fun... I wanted to share some things coming down the pipeline:

What Meditation Did To My Brain
It’s been about 5 years since I wrote my first piece, reviewing a bit of the science on meditation (http://mandywintink.blogspot.ca/2012/11/what-did-my-meditation-retreat-do-to-my.html). So much has developed in science since then. I also recently went on another course, back in December of last year, and was inspired to reflect again on what meditation did to my brain THIS time! So different. For one, instead of a psychedelic trip, I was forced to be “bored” and to sit with that. Patience is a virtue, apparently, but learning it has allowed me to be patient for April to roll around!  ;)

This one is named after a wonderful woman I met at my meditation course back in December. She was a French woman with a thick accent so when she told me her name (Joyce), I asked her why she didn’t have a French name. Well, I found out that she actually changed her name after leaving an abusive relationship (one of several in fact). She decided to turn over a new leaf and to truly embrace Joy into her life. She believes that Joy is a choice and changed her name to Joyce (Joy + Choice) to remind her of that every day. Beautiful and inspiring! Actually, not much else needs to be said about that one. That kind of sums it up, beautifully!

How to Eat
Inspired by the confusion over what to eat and prompted by a study that claimed one diet was better than another, I began to reflect on how difficult it is to know how to eat. The science is messy and so is the mound of opinions out there, from both credentialed authorities and non-credentialed. How is one to figure out “how to eat?”. Good question! Well... I have some rules I like to live by and thought I would share them. The simplest trust your gut, literally and metaphorically!

Social Defeat
Whether in our lives or in our minds, the effects can be devastating. Many people don’t realize how much “social defeat” or social failure (perceived or real) can affect our mental state. There is a wonderful body of literature in psychology and in neuroscience that talks about this. I have partially reviewed it to a point to be able to present but it needs a bit more work. I happened upon this while working some of my talks on Failure and the Brain, the next of which will be presented in Halifax at the Emergent Learning Conference: http://www.teachingthewaychildrenlearn.com/sessions/0674b825c2432bf60e633582dd004ea6

My Old Friend Ibuprofen
This is a piece for UltimateRob http://www.ultimaterob.com/author/mwintink/.  I came across a science paper that showed intestinal injury in athletes with ibuprofen use (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Aggravation+of+exercise-induced+intestinal+injury+by+Ibuprofen+in+athletes.). It reminded me of my years spent somewhat addicted to ibuprofen (like many of my ultimate friends are) and how my Naturopathic Doctor believed it was causing much of what is discussed in this paper, including a condition called “leaky gut”. I think ibuprofen use is an important thing to consider as we athletes struggle with our injuries and do whatever we can to keep playing. But we have to ask ourselves, at what expense? As someone who can proudly say that, at 37 years old, I have only taken ibuprophen about 5 times in the past 5 years, I know there are alternatives to this pain relief... and I would like to share them, while also educating a little bit on the side effects of these types of meds. 

Mental Infertility
This piece was inspired by a coaching session I had with Life Coach and Doula, Katina Garduno (https://www.facebook.com/heartandwisdomcoaching) in Halifax a couple of weeks ago. The gist of it is that there are many ways that we can be infertile, and the power of the mind should not be ignored, whether it is through the stress that we place upon ourselves for wanting to have a baby or, like me, the inability to commit to wanting to have a baby. Part of this is my “coming out” piece about admitting that we may be... not trying per se... but not NOT trying to have a baby. It feels so odd to have this little secret. It feels so NOT me to keep this to myself!

My Life As A Lesbian
I just want to throw this is there but to be honest, it has been lingering for about 3 years. The problem with this one is that it is currently being debated by my best friend, Lindsey, who argues that I am not a lesbian. She gives me "bisexual" if I whine enough. But I like the title and have to get it through when she's not watching...   It’ll come out... eventually.  ;)

Anyway, just thought I would share. If you have a particular interest in one of these... let me know. I’d be happy to push it up on the priority list!