We are our own fertile ground. Boosting fertility and other goals by dreaming wide means living a life true to our hearts, pursuing a career or attaining personal goals by nurturing the seeds of our own dreams. Make those dreams big and wide.
Revising My 6 Month Goals In the Middle of A Global Pandemic: Are You Kidding?
I belong to a mastermind group, which is a business coaching circle. It’s a chance to talk through business challenges, goals and dreams with other small business owners. 2 weeks ago, my challenge was to update my goals for 2020. We normally do a mid-year progress check on the annual goals we’d set for ourselves. Covid, of course, blew a hole in a lot of my goals for the year. A global pandemic, 7 weeks with no income, a radically altered business schedule, and no end in sight to the all-encompassing devastation wrought by this sub-microscopically-sized apocalypse will do that to the best-laid plans…….
Normally I toss out these “yearly goal” things pretty easily. Planning is my superpower. A year? Easy! 6 months? Child’s play. I usually plan years ahead. But this time, I was stumped. I’d been too busy too think about my goals for the year until that point: dealing with the huge influx of new patients at my clinic, figuring out cleaning protocols, how to keep my office staff and me and my patients safe, dealing with reduced income: my new day-to-day.
I thought I would be able to just toss off the new goals like always. But after the meeting, I just stared at the paper I was supposed to write new goals on. I quit after 10 minutes, figuring I’d try again the next day. Nothing. I moved the paper around to a different part of my desk (aka my kitchen table). That didn’t help (I tried that for 4 days.) I changed paper color (nope). I sat longer (nada). Nothing, no ideas at all. Bupkus. Diddly-squat. What could I come up with for my 6 month goals? How do you plan in the midst of a global pandemic?
What happened was I got depressed. During the past 4 months, I’ve been anxious, angry, worried, grateful (for family and friends), busy (got my blog up and running, got my email marketing going!), and focused. I’m usually intellectually curious, a research junky (you’re welcome), intense, and relatively happy. I don’t DO depression. And yet. Here I was, depressed.
It wasn’t hard to figure out why. Our goals in Mastermind always include personal plans (the line between business and personal is thin for most small business owners). I love to travel, domestically and internationally, and travel is ALWAYS one of my goals. Goals for me really mean dreams: dreams of what I want to create, and accomplish, and craft my life to be. And dreams including travel in the time of Covid…..nope, that was off the list for…..?? Who knows how long.
No Travel?!? UHM, NO.
I was planning a trip to France in 2021 to see Monet’s gardens in Giverney. (One of my goals was to save money for the trip.) I adore Monet’s paintings, I traveled to two exhibitions of his work last year in the US. When I look at Monet’s later paintings of his waterlilies, his bridge, his garden, I feel at peace. It’s like my body and brain vibrate at a whole different level of calm and joy.
No Giverney in summer 2021? Uhhhhhhh. Not OK.
What about my postponed April trip to see my oldest friend (we’ve known each other since we were 10)? Two of her kids have a form of muscular dystrophy, so I was planning on travelling to see her in Virginia since it’s too hard for her to come here, and it’s been 4 years since we’ve seen each other. The plan was to reschedule to the fall.
Nope. Not happening.
What about the Chinese herb classes I was going to take in Maryland, with a side trips to DC to reconnect with classmates from acupuncture school?
Nuh-uh. Not that either.
I was not OK with this.
……I couldn’t come up with anything. I was just sad and stuck and depressed.
It’s Not A First World Problem
It sounds like a first world problem: boo hoo, you don’t get to travel. Too bad. But…..what it symbolizes is not a first world problem. My inability to come up with anything is illustrative of how paralyzing the loss of a dream can be. We NEED dreams, like we need air, food, and water. Dreams get us up in the morning, dreams keep us going, dreams give us hope.
And for all of us, this has been a year of lost dreams. We’re all stuck. How the H*LL do you dream when you don’t know what tomorrow, much less next week or next month, is going to bring because normal isn’t anymore?
Infertility Is The Death of Dreams, Too
It feels like a cliche to talk about how infertility issues are the death of a dream. But it’s not a cliche, it’s true. Every period, every failed cycle, every miscarriage is the death of a hope or dream. All too often, the pain and suffering infertility causes is often casually dismissed. Just like the death of my travel dreams isn’t a first world problem, infertility isn’t a minor medical issue.
Infertility is often viewed as an “optional” medical problem. But infertility is a very real medical issue, all wrapped up and tied with a bow of mental distress and pain, too. The drive to procreate is hardwired into the oldest parts of our brain. For those couples who envision their future as a family with kids, the loss of that possibility is devastating.
Dismissing fertility issues as not important or medically relevant ignores the serious emotional and physical toll that infertility can exact. Often infertility problems are a sign of a deeper medical issue (PCOS or hypo/hyperthyroid) or hormonal imbalance (endometriosis). Infertility can cause relationship issues between partners (blame game, ignorance of the medical and physical reasons for infertility, rejection of the infertile partner’s pain). And the simple fact of not being able to get pregnant, when it’s so easy for everyone else, feels like a betrayal on a fundamental level.
In comparison to infertility, not getting to travel seems trivial. In a way, it is. But the comparison drives home the point: the death of dreams and plans hits hard and really, really hurts.
It doesn’t matter what the dream is, the death of that dream causes pain and harm.
So, How Did I Climb Out? Fertile Ground Is the Starting Point
It took a lot more time than I thought it would. It meant sitting down and really working my way through what I need, and what might be possible. This is where the idea of fertile ground came from: though Covid was the cause of the issue, I can’t change that. I realized the answer to my problem was going to come from internal work. Creating or cultivating fertile ground is the starting point, and this is true of any situation or issue right now. The answers are going to come from inside us, not external miracles or changes.
My fertile ground for boosting my dreams by dreaming wide started with understanding that my expectations were going to have to change, and I was going to have to cultivate new ways of thinking and being to get to where I wanted to go. No more business as usual.
By setting my expectation that I WILL travel again, creating flexible plans for travel, and resetting what I meant by travel, I created new directions for my goals and actions.
We’re All Trying to Figure This Out
We are all struggling with this right now. Whether it’s smaller, day to day issues, or large, life-changing paths, it doesn’t matter. If you are interested in boosting fertility (plenty of couples still want kids), figuring out your future path in general (how do you date during a pandemic? Think about college? Think about 10 years ahead?), looking for a new job/career (because current job/career isn’t looking so good during Covid, or you decided it’s the perfect time to try a new job!), or indeed any goal/dream change, it’s overwhelming. This is how I worked it out for me. I thought it would be helpful to share.
Create BIG Dreams
I created BIG dreams. The large size of the new goals means that it was easier to accept that it might not happen for a while, because of what making those dreams happen requires. So my new big is travelling to Japan for a month, not just 2 weeks. The logistics and financial requirements are huge. It may take 5 years before I’m ready to undertake that. I’m OK with that. In 5 years, things will be very different.
Big is easy. More, better, faster. 1 month in Japan: Check!
Create Wide Dreams
But what does wide mean? By wide, I mean expanding possibilities, trying new things, opening up to new ways of thinking and being. Wide means encompassing options and avenues that would not normally be something you would consider. It means putting everything on the table as something to consider, and give it real thought. For example………
New Skills To Expand Possibilities
I’m going to create and test a new set of skills to expand my possibilities. In this case, camping.
Just so you are aware, it is a sign of the apocalypse that I’m willing to consider camping (friends who know me are flabbergasted that I’m going to attempt this). I. HATE. CAMPING. I hated it when I was a Girl Scout, and vowed after my last camping trip (30+ years ago) that I would NEVER camp again.
(FYI: Never say never to the Universe; it will laugh uproariously as it trips you up on your declarations and mindsets.)
Camping tech has changed a lot in the last 30+years. And, I realized, I don’t have to camp as an adult the way I was forced to camp (ok, maybe a little anger there) as a kid. So, air mattress, JetBoil stove/cup, good food and tea, IPad loaded with books, portapotty campground (no pit potty for this girl), solar shower, only 2 days. If I hate it, I hate it, and I can go home. But I will try it.
I already did this last year: I tried to get scuba certified before my trip to Australia. I’m terrified of deep water, but I really, really wanted to scuba on the Great Barrier Reef.
Unfortunately, when I did my open water certification dives, I discovered that colder water (meaning anything under 85 degrees) and pressure (anything deeper than 10 feet) triggered an unrelenting, 2 day long vertigo attack.
Ugh. But I tried! And rediscovered the joys of snorkeling instead.
It’s always worth trying. Here’s me snorkeling instead with a friend on the GBR.
Broaden My Definitions
I also realized that my definition of travel means “travel by plane.” So time to expand that definition to include destinations within driving distance. I love hiking, and usually do at least one hiking trip a year. Increasing that to two trips a year, to places a little farther away (I tend to stick to destinations that are less than 6 hours away) opens up options for travel outside of the desert Southwest. I love desert hiking; going further lets me see other ecosystems.
Domestic travel isn’t as heady and jaw-dropping as the “I’m going to Australia” or “I’m headed for Japan” kinds of trips. But I also know that when I go hiking, as opposed to sight-seeing, I come back more grounded. Sight-seeing trips can be exhausting. Hiking is regenerating. Doesn’t mean I won’t go on sightseeing trips, just that there will be fewer of them for now. And I don’t need stimulation right now, I need grounding and balancing.
National parks and monuments are national treasures. I’m looking forward to seeing more of them. I wanted a relatively close-by hiking trip (total of 4 days) in late May; I chose Capitol Reef National Park because it’s not well known, and it looked interesting. It was a 6 hour car trip, and it was superb. Not too crowded, gorgeous, and hiking was excellent. I came home feeling like so much of the weight of lock-down had been taken off my shoulders. Remembering that re-connection to nature is medicine and food for the soul makes closer-by travel something to look forward to.
A Checklist for Boosting Fertility And Any Other Dream
Big wide dreams that expand possibilities, create new skills and broaden definitions.
How does this apply to the dream that you lost, and need to re-create?
For boosting fertility, I tell my patients 4 main points.
And if your dream isn’t a baby, then what? Follow the same process for any dream.
Remember that your body knows fertility. You can create a baby. So many women come to me as the doctor of last resort. I can’t promise a baby, but I can promise every patient that we will do everything possible to boost fertility and give them the best possible chance. It takes time and dedication to rebuild fertility, but the changes along the way in terms of better health, energy, and joy make the journey worth it.
Whether you are TTC naturally or doing IVF, remember that the scope of the changes you can/need to make are restructuring your WHOLE body. We’re not just focusing on your reproductive system. Fertility is the sum total of all of you, body mind spirit, and all of it needs to be nourished and encompassed on your fertility journey. You are more than your uterus/ovaries/follicles, or your sperm. Remember all the parts of you that need to be nourished and celebrated! (My Fertility Reset Online course is the very definition of wide, there isn’t an aspect of life that it doesn’t address!) Boosting fertility is about improving the whole of you.
I tell patients to slow down, eat better, and a whole lot of other instructions they think are impossible for boosting fertility. Just try it for 3 days, that’s all I ask. And 90% of the time, they do what they think is impossible, and feel so much better. (Except for camping. Camping only gets a 2 day trial!)
Lots of new skills for boosting fertility, indeed, creating fertility (since if you are having fertility issues, you aren’t fertile). Learning to cook healthy (I can help with that, check out my vlogs on Breakfast Burrito, the yummy 5 minute Raspberry Chia Dessert, and more on my Youtube Channel). Learning to rebalance energy equations so you don’t give away so much of your fertility energy (module 3,4,5 in my course). Restructuring your schedule so your life is slower, easier, and lets your body create good eggs (part of the reason I do consultation options for women who need it).
Read, learn new skills, change your fertility.
The whole point of this is a baby. Sometimes that doesn’t look like what you want it to. Women who are doing IVF might need to think about how to improve egg quality and incorporate better lifestyle habits. The TTC naturally women might need to think about adding some sort of assisted reproduction. And sometimes bio fertility, using your eggs and your partner’s sperm, isn’t possible. So donor egg/sperm, or adoption are the option that get you there.
Boosting fertility sometimes means broadening the definition of fertility.
Do I want every woman and couple to have the children they want? Yes. And I’ve been doing this long enough to know that sometimes it just doesn’t happen the way we want. But that doesn’t mean that building a family isn’t possible. If the definition of family is expanded, it’s possible. It only means that your dream is very wide, and include possibilities that weren’t considered in the beginning.
Summing It Up
Covid has forced all of us to rethink what life looks like for us. A good friend called Covid “Buddhist boot-camp”: it has made us face up to the inherent uncertainty of life. It has dashed dreams and goals.
Here’s how to deal with this unpleasant reality: Remember that life is not a spectator sport. We create and craft it. It’s up to us to create new dreams and goals that open up possibilities and give us a new future. So whatever dream got shredded, pick up the pieces and rethink what you really want, and how to get there.
BIG, WIDE, EXPANDED POSSIBILITIES, WITH NEW SKILLS AND BROADER DEFINITIONS.
We are fertile ground: boosting fertility or other dreams by dreaming wide creates a whole new world for us to live into.
You Got This!
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