Friday, October 31, 2008

Full term breastfeeding

I often wonder why there is such turmoil over weaning babies, with worry and guilt and pressure from many sides and many agendas. I can remember defending my choice to nurse both of my children beyond a year. I remember the patience it took to educate others about toddler-led weaning. Believe me, I am a pretty open book about my life and experiences, and share a lot with others. I always do this in the hope of informing people and perhaps helping them to explore new ideas.

In my own experience, and that of my friends who have breastfed their babies well into toddlerhood, our children are healthy, well adjusted individuals. I nursed both of my children until a couple of months before their 3rd birthdays. By the second child I was more sure of myself, and now that my children are 5 and 9 I can't imagine caring for another child any other way.

I personally believe that nursing our children for a longer period will be shown in the future to have long-term health benefits for both mother and child. I was going to call this article "Extended breastfeeding" but then I came across the term "Full-term breastfeeding" and think it more accurately describes the practice. If you are contemplating nursing your baby for longer than your family or your community seems to support, here is some information give you a boost of confidence:

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "A recent review of evidence has shown that, on a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants. Thereafter infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond."(1)

According to anthropologist B. Holly Smith, in non-human primates weaning occurs around the same time that the first permanent molars come in. (2) In humans that would be, on average, sometime after 6 years of age. Dr. Katherine Dettwyler discusses a number of primate studies in a great article called "A Natural Age of Weaning". (3)

And finally, the words of the wonderful Dr. Jack Newman,

"Possibly the most important aspect of nursing a toddler is not the nutritional or immunologic benefits, important as they are. I believe the most important aspect of nursing a toddler is the special relationship between child and mother. Breastfeeding is a life affirming act of love. This continues when the baby becomes a toddler. Anyone without prejudices, who has ever observed an older baby or toddler nursing can testify that there is something almost magical, something special, something far beyond food going on. A nursing toddler will sometimes spontaneously break into laughter for no obvious reason. His delight in the breast goes far beyond a source of food. And if the mother allows herself, breastfeeding becomes a source of delight for her as well, far beyond the pleasure of providing food. Of course, it's not always great, but what is? But when it is, it makes it all so worthwhile."(4)

2. 1991 Smith, B. H. Age of weaning approximates age of emergence of first permanent molar in non-human primates. American Journal of Physical Anthropology suppl. 12:163-164(abstract)
3. "A Natural Age of Weaning" can be found at
4. Excerpted from "Breastfeed a Toddler? Why on Earth?" by Dr. Jack Newman

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Understanding your birth experience by reviewing your medical records

Although I have helped mostly first time mothers, I have some women who hire me because their first birth did not turn out the way they wanted. Some of these mothers have ended up with instrumental births or c-sections and feel sad that they didn't have the birth they dreamed of, or feel like a "failure" because they didn't have a natural birth. Sometimes it's helpful with these moms to have them obtain a copy of their medical records and go through it with them line by line.

Many people aren't aware of the fact that they can access their medical records. In most cases, you are entitled to a copy of your medical records. For New Brunswickers, you can refer to the guidelines at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of NB website. Your doctor's office may charge you for the cost of photocopying all, or a portion of, your records. Your doctor also has the right to refuse to give you your record if he or she determines it is in your "best interest". Although this rarely happens (and hasn't happened to any of the moms I've worked with so far!), your doctor is required to give you a reason why, preferably in writing, with the knowledge that you can then complain to the College.

Reviewing your record with a good midwife or doula can help you to see if, in fact, your "emergency" c-section was an emergency, or if it was the end result of a cascade of interventions. It can help you to know why the nurses seemed to be working feverishly on your newborn. For many mothers, this information has helped them to be less scared when looking forward to subsequent births.

If you know that, in all likelihood, your c-section was the result of going to the hospital way too early in labour, then you can make some changes for the next birth. Maybe you will have a doula or midwife to sit with you early on in the birth process, or you can resolve to educate yourself about the signs of active labour and rent all your favourite movies to watch while you stay at home and wait for your baby.

On the other hand, your notes may help you to see that the interventions you had were warranted and/or done with the best of intentions for both you and your baby. In this case, having this knowledge can help you to process your birth and to make peace with it.

Knowledge is power. I hope some of this information helps you to find out about your births!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Maggie's Pesto Pizza

I have a wonderful recipe to share! This is from a friend of mine, Maggie, and is great for those nights you crave "real" food but feel you only have time for takeout. It makes a wonderful, vegetarian pizza rich in nutrients, especially iron due to its high spinach content. Enjoy!

Maggie's Pesto Pizza

large flatbreads of your choice (I like to use "naan" bread, but any pre-cooked pizza bread or Greek-style pita will also work)
green (basil) pesto
washed, chopped, fresh spinach
sliced mushrooms
grated cheese (such as mozzarella, romano, cheddar, or a mix)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Generously spread pesto on the flatbread. Pile on the spinach (ours is really really high! don't worry it will shrink while cooking!). Top with sliced mushrooms and cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

SLOW down already!!

It's been a fun, rainy day today. Usually I would be going crazy with kids climbing the walls, but we made out relatively well after school. I credit this to the fact that my youngest only watched about half an hour of television, then when his sister got home she didn't go straight onto the computer.

Instead, she made bran muffins while I made supper, and he drew pictures. After supper tonight we planted seeds (apple and green pepper), covered over our milk-carton flats with plastic wrap and set them in a south-facing window. Who knows if they will grow? Who cares? We had fun and got our hands dirty doing it.

A friend of mine is touting the "Slow Food" movement, which is committed to eco-friendly, wonderful food made with love. This led me to think more about the "Slow Movement" ( which encourages us to enjoy connecting to each other, our community, and our environment. I am trying to do the same, and I realize that this has been a long-term process, going back several years. I cook a lot of our food from scratch. I am now sewing curtains for a good friend of mine, enjoying learning new sewing techniques and accepting the little imperfections that she and I both say are just "adding character" to the whimsical pieces of fabric.

This of course has connections to the way I envision birth. A slow unfolding, a great process that needs no "artificial" intrusions. Birth isn't a chore, it's a labour of love that we need to undergo for ourselves and our babies.

Maybe tonight or tomorrow you can give up a half an hour of television and make some muffins or an easy soup for you and your family (or friends, if you are single!). Maybe you can take that half an hour and take a leisurely walk through a local market, craft store or fair-trade store. Give yourself the gift of YOUR time. You won't regret it!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

PMS in the Valley

I've just returned from a lovely weekend in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Annapolis is a magical place, I do soul feels nurtured and my creative side is screaming that it oh so wants to come out.

This weekend was a bit of a challenge. This past weekend was my time for PMS. I get tired. My body gets soft and round, I am so thankful that I packed comfy skirts and my favourite, comforting clothes. I have less tolerance for bullshit this time of the month. I feel raw and edgy. The challenge is to balance the irritated feelings and see that, in reality, I am very powerful and CLEAR about things right now.

CLEAR? you say? I know many women who would say they are a mess this time of the month. Full of rage, frustration. May I gently suggest that is because they have a right to be! Maybe you stuff your feelings on a daily basis. Maybe you are super polite to the person who is rude and inconsiderate to you at work every day. Maybe you resent doing everything around the house. Maybe your body and your soul are tired of getting trampled on, by everyone, including yourself. PMS as we know it, the anger, the irritated feelings, it's a wake up call.

Your body wants you to take good care of it. It wants a decent amount of sleep. It wants good food. It wants sunshine. It wants walks. Your soul desires honesty and love. Sooner or later it demands that you figure out your worldview, your place in the world, that you balance your life with good friendships, love, and peace. It's crying for you to keep a journal and pull out your crayons and create.

When you make the changes, even small ones, you will see something happen at this usually dreaded time of the month. You will be honest about your need for space. You will have clarity in your thoughts. You will desire the truth from everyone and every situation.

Thanks for all the encouraging emails from readers. I appreciate it so much!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Contemplating Change

These days I am not sure where I belong. I don't know if I want to continue working as a childbirth educator. When I teach classes I feel as if I am giving women information but not support. I seem to do better as a doula, when I can give information and be the second set of hands giving mom counterpressure to her back as the contractions get hard.

I don't know if I want to continue working as a doula. Sure, I love it, I truly do, but I want to do more. I want to be the midwife sitting on the sidelines keeping eye on mom as she labours in her birth tub. I want to be the OB who supports and reaffirms the concept of birth as normal and natural.

I am scared about the current status of midwifery in New Brunswick. Kate Nicholl, who has lobbied long and hard for midwifery legislation in this province, was quoted in the Moncton Times and Transcript a while back saying that once regulation is in place "it will be illegal" for women who are not trained midwives to attend births. I don't want a system like that. I want a system where I can birth the way I want, without my girlfriends fearing jail time should they assist my birth.

For the last month, my brain and emotions have been all over the place in regards to birth. I keep coming back to one thing: that birth is a normal, healthy process. I also believe that we are lucky to have the medical system we have should we need it. But I wish we could all lose the fear. And I wish I could figure my place with women, with birth, with life.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

On being a mother

My children are both miracles. My daughter Emily birthed a new me. She has tested and tried and pulled me in new directions. I love her.

Zachary had a knot in his umbilical cord. He survives, he thrives. I love him.

Today I am celebrating being a mother as it is the eve of my son's 5th birthday. His sister will be 9 soon. They grow and amaze me. I welcomed them into the world the way that I mother them...with love and with their input and with give and with take. I wish all women had the faith in and the transformation by natural, unadulterated birth. Happy BIRTHday to us all.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Today I attended an awe-inspiring birth. I'm tired, I'm moved, I'm relieved. I am so proud of, and happy for, the family I served.

My client had a dream for her birth. She had an incredibly supportive husband. They were a team, they respectfully requested birth care on their terms, and what was deemed "risky" two days ago ended with a peaceful, low-intervention birth. The staff involved were tolerant and truly worked with this couple, discussing options and giving them the space they needed to make decisions. This mom listened to her body and pushed as she saw fit; her big baby slid out while mom was squatting on the floor. Most importantly, she got what she wanted from her birth: to have an active role in the process. At one point, just before her baby entered the world, she let out a laugh that I thought sounded frustrated. I immediately said, "You're almost there!" and she replied, "Yes, I know, I'm happy!"

Tonight I turned off my cell phone for the first time in over two months...until the next client. Today's birth reminds me of all the reasons WHY I do what I do. I love birth, and I love the power and the life that resounds in the process. I am so very grateful to have been a part of today's miracle, and I dream of more to come!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

City bus ramblings

I was sitting on the bus yesterday
A woman
Not far ahead of me
Marmalade hair and grey roots
Long glossy hair tied
Up in a knot
I'm sure it's beautiful
Once the marmalade is out
But she hides her power with store bought
So noone can see how hard she's worked
For the wisdom and truth she carries
Inside her
She devalues herself
Her sisters
Her mothers
Trying to look like the girl
Who was awkward and searching

I promise myself that I will
Go silver
Let it shine
Show no fear

I want to see more crones

Friday, March 28, 2008

I wish...for changes in the workplace

Moms need a break. Dads need a break. Period. And I'm not just talking about parental leave. When you have children, working 40 hours a week makes it feel like you never see them. Up at 7, out the door by 8, back home by 6 pm and everyone needs to wind down, eat supper, homework, bath, bedtime by's enough to drive a mom mad!

I would love to see more companies who understand that old systems of working are not necessarily the best. As someone who works best in energetic spurts, and as a woman whose multitasking skills have been honed due to the trials of parenting, I know I'm capable of doing quality work in reduced timeframes. The old concept of working during specific hours, just to have presence, should go the way of the dinosaur. How about good management, and planning what your business goals are for the year, then giving people projects to fit those goals, and an added challenge: do it on your own schedule. If it meets the requirements in both quality and quantity, you can keep your schedule. This takes good management skills and feedback...sadly lacking in the majority of workplaces.

Next, take it a step further. If your employees aren't working from home, and you want them at work to collaborate and so on, make a really beautiful work environment. Add in high quality childcare onsite, and let people access their kids whenever they want to, whether for breastfeeding or a snuggle.

I know there are a few companies out there doing it, but they are few and far between. Let's get creative and make some more...I am betting you will have fewer sick days and happier, more productive staff all around.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Living green

Despite all the hype, I am going to come out and admit it: living green is d*$%ed hard. It is! Making changes to our consumption patterns and changing our environmental blueprint takes some personal evolution and a heck of a lot of soul searching.

At a time when going green is cool, everywhere you look there is another joe trying to sell you something that is "environmentally friendly". Huh? So trading in my poly-cotton bedsheets for organic cotton is good for the environment? What do I do with my old sheets? Send them to the thrift store so someone else, who can't afford to be eco-friendly(or is just smarter than me), can buy 'em? Should I really buy the corn bottle for my water with the built in filter because it will biodegrade? Perhaps the companies that tout these products are truly offering their wares out of concern for the earth. Perhaps they realize that there is also a great amount of money to be made from our mass hysteria about global warming, landfills, and celebrity endorsements of earth friendly living.

C'mon people! Reduce, reuse, recycle. It's a simple concept, one that bears reiteration....

1. Reduce means that I STOP being such a stupid, mindless consumer. I personally avoid malls as much as I can because I often see things that I "need" to buy. Thank God I have the personal discipline (or maybe it's just the empty wallet) and often put off those decisions. I usually find I can go without. Does that mean that I don't have objects in my home that I love? Nope. I had a wise friend who told me, about 5 years back when I was having a similar rant to today, "But Amy, beauty is important. When you are careful about your choices, you can have beautiful things that support your spirit and enhance your life." She was right. These days I shop for form AND function, and look for unique, one of a kind items at thrift shops and local markets. When setting up my apartment last year, I had to purchase many household goods. I purchased a beautiful set of dishes from the late 70s/early 80s at a local thrift store and I smile every time I use them! The entire stack cost me less than $10, I wasn't buying a new product with lots of packaging, and I got a high quality well made item well within my budget. When it's a big purchase, like a digital camera, I buy for the longest use possible, which may mean a higher initial cost but with more features and better construction I will use it for a longer time period.

2. Reuse. See references to thrift stores in #1. Think of ways to use what you have in your home before you get rid of it, or exchange it with friends. Since I believe so strongly in #1, I'd like to see us choosing things for our homes that will last generations, instead of just "right now". Reusing the packaging that your food came in, for example, is a great idea. If you can get rid of the packaging in the first place (I never use all the pesky plastic bags in the grocery store produce department, for example, and it's never been a problem), then you've followed rule #1 and don't have anything to reuse in the first place.

3. Recycle. And not just your pop bottles. They fall under rule #1. So do plastic water bottles and more. If you must buy treats, make sure you do recycle. I for one think that beer and wine are more acceptable alternatives to pop because they come in glass bottles and glass is more earth friendly than plastic. Recycling, especially plastic, is important but also has great environmental and economic impact. If you can buy at stores that allow you to forgo their packaging and use your own containers, like bulk food stores, by all means, do it! If not, make sure that any items that can be recycled in your household are. Some commonly overlooked items are fluorescent lights and batteries, neither of which belong in the landfill.

Truly going green, as opposed to using our consuming tendencies to buy buy buy, can be hard. It means really weighing out our current purchases with their impact on our health and the health of our environment long term. Some of the benefits include being able to sleep better at night and reduced stress on your pocket book.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Chance meetings

Today I was blessed to meet a wonderful spiritual guide, Chekotah Bronson. He is from Alberta and on his way through New Brunswick...I don't remember why? But some people that you meet just pour out energy and light. Without even knowing me he gave me words of encouragement and insight about midwifery and serving women, babies and the world.

Thank you Chekotah!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The beginning of a journey

Yesterday, while blogging about "babymoons" I remembered, fondly, some of the sites that influenced and educated me as a newly pregnant mom with my first child. I was a "young" mom at 21, none of my friends had babies, and my mom had gone through 3 c-sections to bring my siblings and I into the world. I had noone that I knew personally who could give me encouragement or information. So I turned to the internet.

Since I believe that our state of mind and our deep seated beliefs can create our reality, I decided two things: that my body must be able to birth babies, because it was designed to do it; and that I wanted to do it as naturally as possible. So I Googled "natural childbirth". All of the references that came up (ok, not all, but most) had to do with homebirths, many with midwives and some of them *gasp* unassisted! At the time, some of the things I read seemed strange to me: MangoMama and her talk of Lotus births and babymoons, BirthLove with Leilah McCracken and her heartbreaking essay "Rape of the 21st Century", placenta smoothies to help with postpartum recovery, and more. But I kept reading.

I read of moms dealing with pain firsthand, with gentle support and love around them. I read of dads catching their babies. I read of strength and triumph and exhaustion and joy. These stories became the basis of my own personal mantra "I CAN DO THIS". I thank every one of those mothers who shared their birth stories, who by doing so empowered me to have a wonderful birth.

Now, almost 10 years later, I am appreciative that all my research led me to a greater understanding of birth, and the miracle that it is. Each website I found led me to more information. I learned how to really read studies. I learned how to dig until I found facts, and evidence-based information. I participated in chatrooms, usually as an observer. Finally, I started working as a doula and got to put some of the theory, and the universal knowledge that we all carry, into helping women with their births.

If you are thinking of a homebirth, or of working as a doula or midwife, or want a low intervention birth at the hospital, do your homework. Educate yourself. There is a good chance you will go through some of the same things I did: surprise, fear, shock, awe, anger, disgust and more when you figure out the reality behind modern birthing practices. Then you need to reach out to midwives, doulas, friends, sisters, partners and more and talk about what you learn, vent your frustrations and go about creating and healing your own birth experiences.

Some topics to get you started:
Gloria Lemay
Leilah McCracken
Mothering Magazine
Midwifery Today
Ronnie Falcao's Midwife Archives
Association of Radical Midwives (ARM) in the UK
Mary Cronk
Ina May Gaskin
Spiritual Midwifery
The Farm Midwives
Heart and Hands
Elizabeth Davis

From there, you will just keep going, as these will all reference each other. Blessings on your journey sister. We are doing this together.

Monday, March 3, 2008


Wow. I last wrote a blog on January 15. Then along came a baby (not mine, a client's) in a long, tiring, amazing birth and I think I decided to take a babymoon.

A babymoon? What's that? A babymoon is kind of like a honeymoon, for the family that has just welcomed its newest member. Instead of having the world visit baby, or baby going out into the world, some families are choosing a quiet time after their baby is born, to relax and slowly ease into baby life.

How long is a babymoon? It could be two weeks, or four weeks, or whatever feels best to the family involved. Generally by staying home, a mom can recuperate faster, breastfeeding can become well established and families can find new routines and rhythms that work successfully for them.

In order to have a blissful babymoon, there are some things you might want to consider. While mom may really enjoy the quiet, she will need some adult interaction with friends and family from time to time, for a few hours here and there. She will most definitely need help with her housework and have meals cooked for her (and the rest of her family). Everyone needs to remember that mom is not in the position to be a hostess. Instead, she needs everyone around her to treat her and baby as a pair. If she is well looked after, then baby will be well looked after. She needs to sleep when her baby sleeps. She needs you to attend to her needs and allow her to attend to her baby's needs, no matter how wonderful you may feel holding her baby, baby needs first and foremost a healthy mother!

Sadly, when you Google "babymoon" now, all you see is vacation and resort packages. It seems that the travel industry has caught on and they are offering all kinds of ways to spend even more money when your baby comes. Nothing wrong with travelling to a resort, but I advocate moms and dads enjoying peace and saving their money, perhaps splurging on extra care for themselves (how about a postnatal massage? having nutritious food cooked and delivered? laundry services? watching all the seasons of TV shows you enjoyed in high school? half days of childcare for the older children?)

A babymoon is a great way to get your family off to the right start. Sometimes we all need a little getaway from the world. Your baby needs an easy transition into the world, so take him or her home and get to know each other. You will enjoy yourselves, that's a promise.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

"Stalled" labours no more!

Births, like many things in life, don't happen on a schedule. They seem to follow their own patterns, kinda like the kid who is shorter than all his classmates at the beginning of grade nine but ends up a head taller than the rest of them by the end of the school year.

Some women give birth in two hours flat. The rest of us ordinary gals wish we could birth like that, but most fast birthers will tell you it is somewhat overwhelming (what an understatement I'm sure!)

Some women give birth in under 24 hours. My first labour was like this, about 15 hours start to finish. Most of it was spent in the quiet peace of my home, coping with contractions and spending the wee hours of the morning in my tub. The last three hours were spent at the hospital.

Then there are the rest of the gals out there. For some women, their body likes to work through labour and delivery over a longer period of time. I'll give you an example of how labour can go for one of these women: baby drops one day, three days later contractions start coming regularly for a number of hours. Mom is excited- this is it! Then the darned things stop. Her body has (effaced)thinned out her cervix, then taken a rest. She is frustrated but she waits. A few days later labour kicks in again. She dilates (her cervix opens) to 3 cm. Then contractions stop again. 24 hours later labour kicks in again, and after eight hours of contractions she is fully dilated- her cervix has opened to 10 cm. Mom feels sleepy, her contractions have stopped, so she lays down to have a nap. 45 minutes later, she wakes up with her baby halfway down the birth canal and breathes her baby out.

Are you reading this in disbelief? Are you thinking that it's impossible? That you've never heard of a labour like that before? Births like I have just described ARE rare, because when we follow modern obstetrical protocols we just don't usually leave a birth to its own devices. Mothers with "stalled" labour are given drugs to speed up the process. They are led to believe that their bodies, for some unknown reason, don't work properly, and they need assistance. Their births are also pushed along because stats show that the longer you are in labour the higher your risk of infection. So the slow birther is going to have her birth pushed along with interventions that all increase her sensation of pain, her need for more drugs, her chance of a cesarian section, and the chance her baby will need attention in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Here's how a midwife/doctor/traditional birth attendant who believes in a woman's ability to birth her baby will deal with this scenario:

1. Vaginal exams are not performed. Your birth attendant understands that your risk of infection is directly correlated to how many vaginal exams you have before your baby is born. Even a sterile glove is going to introduce bacteria from the air, from the practitioner, from your external genitalia up inside your body. Of course your chance of infection will be increased! Your attendant can tell that your labour is progressing without the need for internal exams.

2. Your bag of waters is not broken. This practice has been thought to help speed along a labour. Even in studies that showed a shorter labour and birth, the difference was only half an hour. The risks associated with the practice, including higher infection rates and fetal distress, drastically outweigh the benefit of a slightly shorter labour.

3. Your are encouraged to move and rest according to how you feel. Your practitioner will allow you to decide what is best for you. If you feel restless, you might want to pace the floor. If you are sleepy, you can have a nap. If you are hungry, you eat what you can tolerate.

4. You are assessed to see if your baby is in a good position for birth. Some babies are in awkward positions which draw out a labour. By massaging your belly and listening to your baby with a fetoscope, your practitioner can figure out how he or she is positioned in your uterus. If your baby is poorly positioned, your practitioner can suggest positions to help your baby turn, perform external massage to help him turn, or, as a last resort, perform manouevers during a vaginal exam to help your baby be in a better position.

There is no hard and fast rule that says once you go into labour, you MUST have your baby. A good practitioner will pay close attention to your health and your baby's health, and support you to make sure you are well rested and nourished during a drawn out birth. They can help you to deal with contractions, and, most likely, once you become further dilated (your cervix is more opened up), you will stay in labour that continues to progress without long breaks. You and your practitioner should also be aware that sometimes your body will stop labouring due to external stress. Perhaps you are nervous in a hospital, and need extra reassurance. Perhaps you invited too many people to your homebirth, and your original plan of a joyful party is now leaving you wishing for privacy. Together you can make adjustments to your environment to help you feel comfortable.

In my opinion, this kind of birth is most easily facilitated at home. Your practitioner can focus on a quality experience with you instead of following rules about what stage in labour you should be in based on the clock. Then, years later, you can talk about how your child, who is always slow to get going in the morning, did the same thing when he was makes for a cute story ;)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Simple, right? It should be. I am not resolving this year to lose weight, or eat better, or change the fact that I am about the least organized person you will meet. I want more than a physical change in the way I interact with the world.

So here goes. This year I am resolving to live in alignment with my personal convictions. I feel a strong need to make my environmental footprint smaller and to serve my fellow persons. I want to make sure that I consume less and choose alternatives, that I spend quality time with the people I love, and that I develop my spiritual/live views further.

That's it. When I put it down it seems a heck of a lot simpler than focusing on surface things, because my mind works on a deeper level.

What are your resolutions this year?