Swaddling not just for Babies

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Week 2 of the MBSR course!  We were taught how to swaddle ourselves in a blanket.  Apparently, we are no different than babies…

Swaddling is the art of snugly wrapping a baby in a blanket for warmth and security.  It can keep your baby from being disturbed by their own startle reflex.   Newborns are born with a startle reflex, called the Moro reflex, and most babies don’t outgrow it until 4 or 5 months of age.  Swaddling can help keep the baby warm and toasty for the first few days of life until their internal thermostat kicks in.  It can also help calm your baby.

Basically, to relax, it really helps to be swaddled.  Dr. Triple A brought in hospital blankets to illustrate how to cocoon ourselves.  Basically, the blanket is over your chest and looped under each of your arms and your hands are trapped under the blanket by your side or in your lap….   Basically it was like you were in a straight jacket…except it wasn’t tied at the back.  Hopefully that helps you get the picture.    She also asked us to “rock” while in our swaddle.   So there we are on our seats with our blanket swaddle, rocking being careful not to fall onto the floor.    I was not rocking out, I was slowing rocking side to side.  Some people find it helpful to rock forward and backward, others do not like to rock meanwhile others simply visualize rocking but, in fact, remain still.   Interestingly, it helped me to to focus and be in the present moment.

I am still learning MBSR and although I am not 100 percent sold on meditation just yet, I am getting there.  There is something to it for sure.   It certainly forces you to slow down and be observant.  Honestly, the swaddling and rocking worked well…  Who knew?

A really good friend of mine, actually helped enlighten me, explaining I was probably mindfully doing Zumba and Pilates.  It certainly explains why I enjoy it so much!  I am so focused on following the instructor and focusing on the steps or moves that I am forced to be in the present moment and there is no time for my mind to wander or worry about anything.   There is definitely something to this!

This kind of meditation has the following characteristics:

  1. Non-Striving  –No goals!! It is what it is…
  2. Non-Judgment–There is no right or wrong!  
  3. Compassion–Be kind to yourself!
  4. Beginner’s mind (detailed meditation)–Approach each time as it’s the first time
  5. Patience—Helps you to be patient!
  6. Discipline-This has to be done daily to form a habit and practice makes it easier 
  7. Observing–Forces you to pay attention to what thoughts are floating into your head, you are only suppose to acknowledge them and let them go….

So if you see me swaddled up, rocking back & forth looking like a crazy person…just leave me be.  If, however,  I start sucking my thumb or soiling myself ….I may have taken it a bit too far, get me some help please.

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CIBC Run for the Cure….

If you are not from Canada, you may be unaware that the Canadian Cancer Society CIBC Run for the Cure is a 5k or 1k walk or run that raises funds for Canadian Cancer Society (CCS). It is the largest single-day, volunteer-led event in Canada in support of the breast cancer cause.  This year the event takes place on Sunday September 30th and in 56 locations across Canada.

I just found out my niece set up a team in my honor to raise money for the CIBC Run for the Cure.  I was touched as it was totally unexpected.   Quite frankly, I had a really good friend ask me a few months ago to walk with her at the downtown Toronto location.   I certainly wasn’t ready when she asked.  I told her “NO” partly because I had just finished radiation and was burnt, hot and bothered.   Plus really didn’t want to run into any people I know and many of my friends at work are not aware that I am or was battling cancer.     I say “was” because I feel it’s behind me but like anyone that has cancer, you are not quite sure if it’s really gone… There are no definitive tests.  Often by the time you feel symptoms and tests are run it’s likely more advanced than you would like it to be…  This all said, I believe it’s gone even though I have yet to have my follow up mammogram.  In my case, because I still have my breasts, I will get the yearly mammogram.   Some of my dear friends that have had mastectomies told me they do not have any specific tests..in their case no mammo required.  I guess other than the routine exams, they are left to do their own body scans and simply raise any issues or concerns if and when they encounter them…  That can certainly feel unsettling.

Anyway my niece, Lindsay, set up a team called the “Power of Annette”.   I would have come up with “Boobarellas” or something silly because that’s just me.  My niece Karen, mentioned the team name “Neurotic Netties” and had me chuckling.  I need to ask her how she came up with the team name.

I was a little apprehensive about the run because I thought we were headed downtown and the volume of people  would be intimidating or emotionally overwhelming.    Once Lindsay revealed we would be running in Collingwood, I was instantly relieved.   A mini vacation weekend!  If you haven’t been, a visit to Collingwood is a must.   The beautiful waters, beach and fresh air…  There will still be huge volumes of people but it won’t be downtown Toronto and it will be less likely for me to run into any colleagues.       So I will be walking 5 km maybe crawling the last kilometer.  Kidding.   I am happy to report I just started soliciting donations for this great cause as of yesterday late evening and have already raised $320 and hope for it to continue to climb.    I would appreciate any donation and no donation is too small.   If you are interested in supporting me, please donate to my page…because together with everyone’s help I hope we get to the root cause and find a cure for this disease.   If they make a breakthrough for this cancer, it will help lead cures for potentially others that are related, like uterine and esophageal, and prostate.    For those that have already donated, I want to truly THANK YOU for your support!  Very much appreciated!  It means a lot to me and countless others that have this disease!!


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