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Patience - In Macro, Yes; In Micro, No

A lot of my heroes come from the Sengoku Warring States Era of Japanese History. Here's two quotes from Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate:

"Life is like unto a long journey with a heavy burden. Let thy step be slow and steady, that thou stumble not. Persuade thyself that imperfection and inconvenience are the natural lot of mortals, and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair. When ambitious desires arise in thy heart, recall the days of extremity thou has past through. Forbearance is the root of quietness and assurance forever. Look upon the wrath of the enemy. If thou knowest only what it is to conquer, and knowest not what it is like to be defeated, woe unto thee; it will fare ill with thee. Find fault with thyself rather than with others."

"The strong manly ones in life are those who understand the meaning of the word patience. Patience means restraining one's inclinations. There are seven emotions: joy, anger, anxiety, adoration, grief, fear, and hate, and if a man does not give way to these he can be called patient. I am not as strong as I might be, but I have long known and practiced patience. And if my descendants wish to be as I am, they must study patience."

I think in the big picture, patience is the way forwards, the way to win. You take small actions each day towards getting what you want. But, I think it's critical to guard your time from nuisances and distractions. In micro, on the minute by minute level, I think being impatient is the better way - look to fill dead time with learning, dispense with formality and bureaucracy as quickly as possible, talk about things that matter instead of smalltalk and pleasantries, break away from organizations and people that don't respect your time. In macro, in the big picture, patience and steadiness is the way. In micro, on a day to day level, impatience is the way.

Managing Breastfeeding Aversion

On Toddler Breastfeeding

Nearing the end of my pregnancy, my physical and mental state vary widely. Sometimes I'm feeling rested, elated, and even excited. Other times I'm feeling exhausted, achy, and defeated. Managing breastfeeding discomfort is a challenge, but managing the breastfeeding aversion that accompanies the frustration from pregnancy discomfort is the most challenging.

Breastfeeding aversion can happen at any time; not just during pregnancy. Another term that comes to mind is "touched out." I like to categorize all situations where I have no significant physical breastfeeding related pain, but actively do not want to breastfeed as fitting into the aversion category. Situations in this category are feelings or thoughts that are preventing me from meeting my nursling's need. Here are some tactics I like to use to help ease me through these times:

* Acknowledge the negative thoughts. I can tell I'm having an aversion when thoughts like "I don't want to do this right now," "this is the last thing I want to do," "you don't really need this," "I wish you would stop," etc. these thoughts swirl around my head furiously until I stop breastfeeding if I don't calm myself down. Each time I have a negative thought I acknowledge it, and actively think of a couple of positive thoughts. For example: "I'm meeting your breastfeeding need in the most loving way," "you DO need this or you wouldn't ask for it," "You feel loved and comforted when I meet your needs," "this nursing session won't last forever," etc.

* Mental distraction. This can be in the form of an activity like reading an article, watching a movie, playing a game, or it can be choosing to actively think of something else. Think about a past conversation you had or a problem you'd like to solve (not breastfeeding related). Anything to keep your mind focused on something other than the urge to stop breastfeeding.

* Physical distraction. This may sound bizarre, but sometimes I pinch myself slightly to focus my mind on the new pain rather than what is going on at my breast. Maybe I pinch my leg or slightly pull my hair. Nothing too painful, just enough to occupy my mind with a different sensation. Sometimes this works for a couple of minutes, sometimes only for a moment.

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