Friday, July 9, 2010

Homage to Oxytocin

Go Oxytocin, the hormone that makes you warm, feel connected... the master social juice.

Here are some interesting factoids about the big O. They are interesting to me because they SCREAM how wired we are for connection. Physical connection.

When an infant suckles at the breast of its mother, Oxytocin production is triggered, which further stimulates milk release. Overtime this stimulation is conditioned so that just by seeing her baby, a mother’s milk lets down.

Ewes that are injected with Oxytocin will actually develop maternal bonds with lambs that are not their own. But if they are given treatment to block their oxytocin during birthing, they won’t develop instincts to their natural born offspring.

Oxytocin overrides fear. If rats are injected with oxytocin, they are able to override their natural instincts to avoid “stranger” rats. Injected female rats will immediately begin maternal practices even if they are not pregnant. They’ll adopt and nurture other young rats, lay down as if preparing for nursing, and protect their “adopted rats” from others.

Oxytocin creates a sense of calm and social harmony. For example, Apes spend 10% of their waking hours picking at one another’s fur. This is not for just hygiene, but rather, the rhythmic touching involved in apes’ grooming behavior stimulates the release of oxytocin, keeping relations among the group calm and cohesive.

Oxytocin reduces pain (like when your mommy kisses your boo-boo), relieves stress (like when your partner holds your hand through a difficult experience), and diminishes distractability (like when your coach grabs your shoulder).

When making love, the ultimate social connection, orgasm releases a flood of oxytocin in the bloodstream -which is why naps are so great after sex. Blood pressure goes down and levels of stress hormones. Performed regularly with the same person, this creates a bond between individuals - often resulting in a feeling we call “love.” This bond can temporarily misguide our attachments to potentially the wrong mate.

Oxytocin creates “warmth” in our bodies. When breastfeeding the baby shows increased blood flow to hands and feet. This also happens with adults as we smootch or whatever - we feel heat in our cheeks and warm chests.

So go out and touch someone.

Much O,

Source: Loneliness by John Cacioppo and William Patrick

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

And I Thought I was Strong

Okay. So first, in case you missed the pic, I'm a white Jewish girl.

But when watching this clip, I was AMENing, HALLELUJAHing, and MMMM-MMMing all over the place!

In this video (only 10 minutes) Bishop T.D. Jakes shares a story about women - and how we nurture everything - from baby to PAIN. He goes on to describe his wife who when she got sick, continued to do what she needed to do to keep the home, the family, and work in order. In fact, he had to double check with her, and ask her if she was really sick.

At this point, I'm nodding. Yep, been there done that. That's what I do. What my mom does. What my grandma does. That's just what we do. I'm flexing my muscles (figuratively) at this point - that's right, STRONG.

Then. He goes and shares how when HE got sick, he became a helpless child, asking for his mama. He canceled everything, demanded chicken soup, and was incapacitated with the same symptoms his wife just had.

At this point, I'm nodding knowingly, rolling my eyes. Like, "Of course. Why are men such babies? Grow some. Suck it up." (I know, this is not very "positively" stella - but, whatever).

So HERE comes the shocker. Bishop T.D. Jakes makes the point that: HELLO LADIES, why are YOU not stopping the world when you feel bad? You deserve to REST. You are IMPORTANT enough to rest and NEED it.




I never thought about it like that. I never saw this perspective. You know, self preservation. I always drew pride from my resilient lineage of women and those that surround me. Like we're made of steel and just get it done.

But, as I take 2010 to recoup from my crazy year last year (this is tough) I could not agree with the Bishop more. He is right. And that's what I'm trying to do - and now, this perspective further strengthens my resolve to not be so "strong" - or at least, what we perceive as strong.

So ladies, considering yourself a queen (and I know many of you already do this, but many of you don't), how would you do things differently to act in true service of yourself?

Much love,

PS Everything in balance, no? So let's take the above with a sensible grain of salt. :)

Special thanks to my friend Marjorie Dickinson who sent this over and continues to enlighten my journey.

Monday, July 5, 2010

God in Starbucks

“Late night sex, so wet, so tight…you can have whatever you like…I want your body, need your body, as long as you have me…”

This is a line from a song that played randomly on Pandora as I was reading one of the most deep spiritual stories I ever crossed.

Let me just paint this picture further:

To spite the fact that I have to write and research on July 5th (when everyone else is out on the beach or bbq'ing), I’m wearing a ridiculous outfit, my newest high heels, and crazy bright pink lipstick to… Starbucks in the middle of New Jersey. That’s right.

I have a tall coffee in hand. And am reading and sobbing. My f’it – I’m-going-to-look-good-even-though-I –have-no-where-to-go-but-sit-my-ass-down and write, make-up is washing down my face as I'm reading about an encounter with God.

I gulp my tall coffee.

And sit back at the irony...The high and the low. The deep and the hip-hop. The obnoxious vanity and tender sensitivity. The commercial and the truth...And relish this experience of being divinely human.

Much love,