Posted in Other

An Introduction to Cloth Pads

It’s that time of the month again-the first day of my period. (TMI for most, I know, but I am unashamed.) In between cramps, I realized that I long ago wrote my post introducing the idea of reusable menstrual products and one on menstrual cups and some of the benefits of ditching the disposables but never got around to doing one on cloth pads. Shame on me.

I’ve already talked about why I turned my back on disposable menstrual products forever in my previous posts, but now I’ll talk a bit more specifically on what it is about cloth pads that I simply adore. Continue reading “An Introduction to Cloth Pads”

Posted in Books

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Click image for source.

Summary

Twenty-four years after her first novel, Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson returns with an intimate tale of three generations from the Civil War to the twentieth century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America’s heart. Writing in the tradition of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, Marilynne Robinson’s beautiful, spare, and spiritual prose allows “even the faithless reader to feel the possibility of transcendent order” (Slate). In the luminous and unforgettable voice of Congregationalist minister John Ames, Gilead reveals the human condition and the often unbearable beauty of an ordinary life. [Taken from Goodreads. Source the same as image.]

My Thoughts

I was actually supposed to read this book a while ago for one of my classes, but it was the last week of school, I had two fifteen page papers do, and I just couldn’t bring myself to read this as well. So it got left behind, though I knew I would read it over the summer. I had heard amazing things about this book even before I had to read it for my post-secular lit. class, and was genuinely disappointed that I couldn’t participate in discussion about it. Anyways, I’ve finally read it, and let me just say, wow. 

Sometimes it’s easy to say what you like about the book. Often when it is easy, it’s because the plot is simply captivating or the prose is beautiful or one of the characters really resonated with you, stuff like that. This book is not one of those books. I loved it, but I’m having difficulty saying why. It’s a book with a rather slow pace that those who dislike the text attribute to it being nothing more than the senile ramblings of a dying man in the boring state of Iowa. While yes John Ames is dying and does live in the (yes sometimes boring, yet beautiful) state of Iowa. They say the plot is too scattered and would have been better told in a more linear, less journal-like manner. I do not hold these opinions.

Yes the book took me longer to read than one its length typically does, but I attribute that more to the richness of Robinson’s words than to the slow and careful writings of a man trying to preserve some of himself for his young son before he leaves. This novel is the type of book that you could read many many times and still find new depths to it. (It didn’t win the Pulitzer Prize for nothing.) While the plot itself didn’t resonate with me much (and a plot does not need to resonate with its reader), there is no way I can ignore the wisdom pouring out from this book. Often a line would just make me stop and reflect on how true it was not just in the context of the narrative, but in the world. I considered sharing some of them, but though I find them absolutely wonderful on their own, I feel the first time they are encountered should be in the context that Robinson put them in. It seems almost wrong to cut up what she has written unless proper time and consideration is given to the practice. As I am not writing a critical paper on this novel, I do not have the time to do such a thing.

Anyways, this book is on many an avid reader’s to-read list, but is often pushed aside until later. If my opinion is worth its salt, I would urge those of you who have been waiting to read it to pick it up as soon as possible. It will not disappoint.

Now, I just need to get my hands on Home and Lila.

Posted in Self

Connecting Body, Mind, and Spirit

I am an intellectual person. I do not say this as a way to boast, but merely to put into words the way in which I encounter the world. Simply put, I live in my head. While at times the habit of allowing my mind to be the ruling center of my life has its benefits (i.e. school and other academic pursuits), residing in my head is rather exhausting. Often I feel as though I have trouble being present. Whenever I interact with others I am always overly conscious of my body language and the messages it is sending, whether or not I am talking too much or with the proper inflection for what I am trying to convey, or I allow my mind to wander. Rarely can I allow myself to simply be. There’s simply too much to consider, too many things to observe, for me to let go of my thoughts and enjoy a moment. I fear I am out of balance. I place too much emphasis on my mind and not enough on my body and spirit, and I’m feeling the consequences.

Lately I’ve been working on noticing where in my body I feel my emotions, especially stress, and I have been focusing a lot on my breath. The books on mindfulness and meditation are piling up next to my bed and on my to-read list. The issue is that it is all too simply for me to read about how to do these things, but applying what I intellectually learn into my life is just so difficult. I can understand the importance of letting go, but the act is so difficult. My disconnect from my body is not simply expressed throughout my emotions and breath; my relationship with my physical health is suffering. I had once lost a considerable amount of weight, was exercising regularly, and eating healthy. No longer is that the case. I’ve started to gain a bit of weight back, eat terribly, and avoid working out. The motivation to care for my body just isn’t there right now. On some level I want to, but again, I’m just not too eager to put my desires into practice.

Spirit is a bit more difficult for me to even define, but right now I’m thinking of it as religious spirituality. Again, a very difficult concept for me. I can read texts and understand concepts, but I struggle with prayer, I worry that about my micromovements during communion, I just don’t feel connected to God (which I’m still trying to understand intellectually anyways, regardless of experiential (dis)connection). I think about religion and spirituality all the time, but I only experience it through my mind, not on a spiritual level.

I’m seeking better balance, but it is difficult. How can I simply let go of my thoughts and just allow for experiences to come as they do? How can I be fully present in the present without worry of not being present? How can I be without analyzing how I am? These are the questions that plague me during long drives by myself.

Posted in Other

An Introduction to Menstrual Cups

As with the last time I talked about that ever taboo topic of menstruation, I’m going to give you a heads up that if you are uncomfortable with that, feel free to turn back now. Personally I think that even if you are uncomfortable with it, you should just embrace that uneasy feeling, learn more about female bodies, and become comfortable with the topic of menstruation, but maybe that’s just me.

I’ve finally been using reusable menstrual products long enough to feel like I have a good enough grasp to write about it. Continue reading “An Introduction to Menstrual Cups”

Posted in Books

Reading Roundup: Medieval Literature

Alas, I have fallen into the bad habit of procrastination. I have not been writing about the books I’ve been reading as I finish and am now pretty behind. Then again, I’m not really sure I want to devote an entire post to each book I read anyways anymore. These collective book posts may be the new norm. Who know? I’m still trying to figure out what works for me as far as blogging goes. But anywho, here are some of the books that I’ve been reading lately — medieval lit. edition. Continue reading “Reading Roundup: Medieval Literature”