Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Autumn Equinox and the Harvest Moon

Every year when September comes to the Chicago area, a sudden shift occurs....  The summer sun wanes, giving way to the golden light of fall, the days shorten and we begin to experience those occasional cool snaps in the morning air, giving us a preview of what is to come.  The farmers' markets are abundant with seasonal fruits and vegetables:  sunflowers, apples, grapes and pumpkins appear.  It is all a reminder that the seasonal wheel is turning once again.

It is harvest time.  Traditions from all over the Earth have celebrated this season for the abundance, prosperity and joy that it brings.  Families and communities have gathered to feast, give thanks, share their prosperity with one another, dance and enjoy the fruits of their labors.  In Korea, it is called Chusoek, in Nigeria it is called Ikore, Sukkot is the Jewish Harvest Festival celebrated this time of year, and in Celtic tradition, it has been known as Mabon.

This year, it happens that the full Moon...the Harvest Full Moon and Autumn Equinox occur together on September 22nd and 23rd.  This full moon in Aries lends energy to the power of the equinox across the globe, calling us to balance....as day and night are in balance, calling us to recognize and honor the fruits of our own personal harvest for the year.....calling us to celebrate in our achievements with each other....and calling us to gratitude.

These seasonal markers are a great time to step back and reflect upon our lives.  What is your harvest this autumn?  What needs to come into greater balance in your own life?  How far have you come with your goals and intentions since January?  What dreams have come to fruition?  Which have not grown in this year's garden?  What would you like to harvest before the year is out?  What would you like to seed for next year?

The turning of the wheel allows us the opportunity to bring completion to the last remnants of the summer cycle and turn our sites onto the next quarter to come.  So, I encourage you  to reap your harvest and celebrate all you have accomplished, the wisdom from your experiences, the people in your life with whom you've shared it....and enjoy the beauty and the abundance of the season!

Many Blessings!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Insurance Coverage for Lactation Support

Some exciting news has emerged recently for breastfeeding mothers. Under the new health care reform bill, a provision was created that mandates insurance coverage for breastfeeding support! The Whitehouse launched a new website (which you can find at www.healthcare.gov) to explain the changes in the new health care reform bill. The website includes a time-line outlining the dates by which each new mandate is due to go into effect. I found the mandate for breastfeeding support located under the category for Preventative Health. It took some digging on my part, as it was buried under the women's health section. However, it is there and due to become effective as of October of this year!

The bill does not define exactly what services will be covered, so I called ILCA (the International Lactation Consultant Association) to find out the details. I was told that they are currently working on the specifics. Apparently, ILCA has a policy committee that is headed-up by Marsha Walker and they are working in conjunction with the Feds to create the guidelines for this new bill. So, we should have more details as to what will be eligible for reimbursement soon. As more details emerge, I will share them with you here.

The medical community has been recommending breastfeeding as the best source of nutrition for babies for years. However, these words of encouragement have often been just that....words. Without a foundation to support it, the best of intentions often falter. I cannot tell you how many mothers have complained to me about the lack of breastfeeding support during their hospital stay, inconsistent and conflicting information they received from well-meaning medical staff, and instructions that have under-minded or derailed breastfeeding efforts all together.

This new legislature may not necessarily "fix" the system, but it certainly affirms the value of breastfeeding for newborns. Let's face it, in our culture money talks. When insurance companies reimburse for a service, it legitimizes that service through it's financial support. Take a look at what insurance reimbursement has done for the chiropractic profession, for example. Chiropractors are now able to provide their services to a much greater portion of the population with respected authority as a result of their reimbursement status.

The most important factor here is that, more mothers will have access to the help they need to make breastfeeding a successful experience. Although a large number of women initiate breastfeeding after the birth of their baby, the attrition rate is extremely high during those first two to three weeks after delivery. Without the support they need, many women just quit. Although LeLeche League and peer support groups have helped numerous women work through breastfeeding problems, out-patient professional support has primarily been accessible to only those who could afford to pay for it out-of-pocket, with rare exceptions. I am delighted to report that the day is arriving soon when breastfeeding support will be accessible to every mother who wants or needs it irregardless of socio-economic status!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Welcome to Bridges to Wholeness

Welcome to Bridges to Wholeness, a new blog and web-site currently under construction. The concepts here are built from observing people throughout my many years of work as a nurse, a lactation-consultant, a health and wellness advisor / educator, a transitions coach and a spiritual counselor. I’ve noticed that achieving health and well-being is a dynamic process that frequently involves making transitions. The transitions may be small or large, but it is the passage through them that allows for transformation to occur….for goals to be achieved….for outcomes to be realized…for deeper levels of soulful connections to occur. I have found that if people receive support through transitional times, they can often maneuver with greater ease and success.

Whether is has been helping new mothers connect with their babies through breastfeeding, supporting individuals in discovering deeper levels of understanding and joy within themselves or their relationships, guiding people through the maze of healthcare to reach improved levels of health & vitality, educating individuals and groups about holistic therapies and techniques to bring greater levels of well-being, caring for women as they transition back home after breast cancer surgery or supporting individuals and their families through the dying process - my life’s work has been about supporting people through transitions and helping them connect to deeper levels of wholeness.

As human beings, we are all an evolution in progress and transitions are an unavoidable part of life. Whether we initiate change or change comes to us, we are called to move from one place or state of being to another. In that transitional process there are choice points, places where we have to decide what options we will choose to best serve our needs and bring us to our highest outcome. These decision-making points require clarity, commitment and the ability to carry it through. Sometimes these places are stressful, they are places where fears, discouragement, fragmentation and confusion can arise, making it difficult to proceed. Sometimes, support on the journey, – whether it is information, techniques, or a clear perspective - can make a significant difference….like a shining light to reveal the path. When we make it over the bridge, when we connect with our true heart’s desire and the deeper wisdom within, (not just what we think we want) we can reach greater levels of satisfaction, joy, peace and fulfillment. This sense of well-being and wholeness has a far-reaching ripple effect in all areas of our lives. It allows for a deeper level of connection to ourselves and to all that is around us. Supporting people on their path to connect with greater levels of wholeness is the cornerstone of my work and thus, the birth of Bridges to Wholeness.